Rewatch · Star Trek · Television shows · tv reviews

The Rewatch 209: Chain of Command (1 & II)

Series: Star Trek: TNG
Episode: 6.10-11 Chain of Command (Part 1: 12/4/92  Part 2: 12/21/92)
Rating: 4/5
Redshirt Status: 0/3/38

Notable Guest Stars:
Ronny Cox (Edward Jellico)- I know him best as Senator Kinsey, the thorn in the side of the Stargate program.
Natalia Nogulich (Alynna Nechayev)-
She will return as Nechayev several times over the course of TNG and DS9.  She has also appeared on the West Wing as an Israeli ambassador.
John Durbin (Gul Lemec)-
Durbin will appear on DS9 and Voyager as various characters.
David Warner (Gal Madred) –
David Warner previously was in the Undiscovered Country as Chancellor Gorkon.  He had also previously worked with Patrick Stewart on a performance of Hamlet.

Warning: This episode contains possible triggering content such as torture and gaslighting. When watching it has graphic torture scenes.  My review also references them, though I will not describe them in detail.

Review:

This duo has a lot to unpack. It’s a fairly important episode Franchise wise for a couple of reasons. There are several character development scenes in these episodes from a TNG standpoint. It also sets the stage for DS9, which will premiere next (and shall be Rewatch 209).

Admiral Nechayev comes onboard the Enterprise to surprise Picard with a special mission to go undercover and seek out a possible metagenic weapon which makes current biowarfare seem like toys. He is relieved of duty as Captain and Edward Jellico, a more by the book and militant style Captain is brought in to relieve him.

Jelico is a bit of a debate.  Some fans feel he was an amazing captain, others fell the opposite. I’ll get to my own opinion in a bit.  Regardless he makes an impression because as soon as he transports over, he starts to change the way the ship works. He wants them to switch up their duty schedules into four shifts rather then three.  Which honestly doesn’t quite make sense.  A four duty shift means six hour shifts. It would spread the crew more thinly, and also seems a waste of resources.  But he’s preparing for war, so perhaps he’s trying to make sure everyone is well rested in case of battle.

He also has requests of each department that sometimes borders on incompletable.  For example, despite Data saying it was an attainable goal, Geordi knows it will take the whole department two days of round the clock work to complete.  And Jellico removes part of the tema for security.

Isn’t there already a security department on board?

Its hard to tell with Jellico if he’s just being premptifully prepared or just has unrealistic expectations of his crew on an larger ship.  Either way it puts him at odds with Riker, who is more of a relaxed command structure kind of guy.  Which is good for the Enterprise because it’s a science ship, and he knows his crew and when to be more firm then others.  Might not be so great when it comes to militiarlistic situation.  That being said, Riker has already shown he can take command of those situations.  He did so in The Best of Both Worlds.

Jelico also makes Deanna wear a uniform, which is probably my favorite thing about this whol episode.  It always bothered me that Deanna never wore her uniform unless it was in an alternate timeline or the first episode.  It has been argued that she wears something to make her patients feel more comfortable, but always?

Meanwhile while Jellico and Riker are fighting (and Deanna playing mediator) Picard, Crusher and Worf are all sneaking into what is supposed to be a Cardassian lab.  Except it was just a lore to get Picard.  To get information about a planet they want. Information that Picard does not have.

Picard is tortured in this episode both mentally and physically.  He spends a portion of this episode strategically placed as he is nude.  They don’t shy away from the fact that this is in fact a torture scene. The most popular phrase to come out of this episode is “THERE. ARE. FOUR. LIGHTS.” It comes from when Picard is being tortured while being asked how many lights there are.  He is tortured to the point that he admits (later to Deanna) he almost gives up and says there are five lights just to get relief.

.I do think it is important that afterwards he goes to talk with Deanna. He seeks mental health services, instead of the usual “forget anything happened to him before this” situation that TV dramas seem to take as their go-to.   He’s seen seeing his therapist, even if it seems like he’s just sitting down with a friend. I think that is a very good sign.  I wish that TV shows would show their heroes seeking mental health help when they need it.

This episode develops Picard, as information of his past come to light. Some of which we already knew, some of which is new. It definitely showcases his character, and how he deals with things. He is rescued before he breaks down from the torture, but he still admits at least to Deanna that he was close to just believing there were 5 lights.

It develops Riker to a certain point, because it shows how willing he is to rebel when he doesn’t think the commanding officer has the best interests of the crew in mind.  Although I do think that he’s a little reactive in this episode, considering he himself has had to deny going back to get someone till after they finish something else.

I do find it funny that all of a sudden he is the best pilot on the enterprise but we hardly ever see him fly anything.

Interesting Notes:

  • Written by (Part One) Frank Abetemarco and Ronald D. Moore (Part Two) Frank Abetemarco
  • Directed by (Part One) Robert Scheerer and (Part Two) Les Landau
  • This episode has a homage to the George Orwell classic “1984”.In the novel, a character uses gaslighting to mentally manipulate someone into believing an alternate reality (five fingers instead of four, or in this case, five lights instead of four)
  • This episode was originally meant to be a one parter, but they decided to stretch it out into a two parter to help save on their budget.  In the end it ended up being a good decision because the story needed both parts.
  • David Warner was a last minute casting, as the actor who had been cast had to pull out for undisclosed reasons.  He had to have his lines held up because he had no time to learn them.  Considering all that, he did an excellent job.
  • This episode was meant to help establish the situation around DS9, with references to Cardassia’s history, and their removal from the Bajoran sector.  Solok was originally meant to be Quark, but it was decided against that when they got to the final script.
  • Abetemarco did research on torture responses with Amnesty international to get the scenes right. Patrick Stewart also made sure to do research into make this episode believable.

Pros

  • Excellent acting by Patrick Stewart.  This is perhaps one of the darker episodes of TNG and he did a great job in showing Picard’s struggle.
  • Excellent acting all around really.
  • Deanna Troi gets her uniform back. If nothing else, I thank Jellico for that.

Cons:

  • While I don’t think Jellico was a bad captain, I feel he could have saved himself some energy and figured out what was working on Enterprise before trying to alter it.  Many arguments can be made over his overall choices though.

Screencap via CygnusX1.net

Rewatch · Star Trek · Television shows · tv reviews

The Rewatch 186: Violations

Series: Star Trek: TNG
Episode: 5.11 Hero Worship (1/6/1992)
Rating: 3/5
Redshirt Status: 0/1/35

Notable Guest Stars:
It was hard to find any suitablely notable credits for the members of this cast. However several of the appear again in Star Trek or are character actors who play bit parts in many series. I’ll list the main cast.

Ben Lemon (Jev) – Lemon did not have an extensive Credits

David Sage (Tarmin)

Rick Fitts (Martin)

Eve Brenner (Inad)

Doug Wert (Jack Crusher)

Craig Benton (Crewman Davis)

CONTENT WARNING: CONTAINS REFERENCES TO RAPE

Review:

Continue reading “The Rewatch 186: Violations”
Rewatch · Star Trek · Television shows · tv reviews

The Rewatch 135: The Defector.

Series: Star Trek:TNG
Episode: 3.10 The Defector(01-01-1990)
Rating:  4/5
Redshirt Status: .5/1.5/23

Notable Guest Stars:

Andreas Katulas – Tomalok.  This is Katulas second appearance of the show. He appeared earlier in the season when rescuing a crew from a planet that Geordi was stranded on.
 S.A. Templemen – Bates
James Sloyan – Alidar Jarok.  Sloyan would appear many more times, notably as Mora Pol in Deep Space Nine.
John Hancock – Admiral Haden.  He would reappear in season 4.
James McElroy – a background actor who appears several times on Star Trek over the years.  He appears in TNG and ENT.

Review:

WARNING/SPOILER: This episode includes an off screen suicide.

Continue reading “The Rewatch 135: The Defector.”
essay · fanfiction · Original Writing · writing

Fandom Writing: The Importance of Trigger Warnings

WARNING:  This post mentions several triggering subjects in the course of covering Trigger Warnings.  

There has always been a debate on the use of trigger warnings..  Triggers are words and or images that can trigger adverse reactions in people who have suffered trauma or have various anxiety disorders. It also extends to things that people know, without having the anxiety, that they don’t care to see/here because its just not something they want to digest/handle.  People over the years have developed the idea of ‘Trigger Warnings’ to help people who have issues with these things avoid them, or at least be prepared to handle them if they still continue on.

Trigger warnings are important.  The debate on trigger warnings is that some people believe they are over used, and warning about things a person should be able to handle.  Others believe that not using it is showing a lack of compassion against those who have problems with triggers.  I am in the middle on this argument.  I believe common sense warnings about possible triggers is important and should be done.  However, if someone doesn’t write a trigger for something its not right to say they are not compassionate.  Perhaps it something they are unaware of being a trigger.

The common sense triggers are often built into archives.  Violence, character death, etc.  And it is already common to put tags to express when a fic has sexual content.  Its important to put these messages because not everyone is okay with everything.  Even if its not a trigger, some people simply don’t want to read smut, or want fluff only and no violence.  They might not want to read something descriptive in gore, or deals with a particular event or activity that makes them uncomfortable.

One of the generic ones is gore.  Some people don’t like the sight of blood or any other bodily fluid.  Sometimes its because an particular event, and sometimes it is just something the person knows they don’t like to see.  I used to have trouble remembering to tag these on posts because I wouldn’t think something was gorey, but then I would get messages asking for the tag.

If you are writing something that includes a sensitive topic, its a good idea to tag it, or make a warning in your chapter notes.  While you might not have a problem with it, or feel its important to your story, some people may just need to avoid that for their own personal reasons.   I have known people who refuse to tag stuff like this because they feel it gives the story away, but it would make it so much easier for people to avoid situations where they might be triggered.  It’s a courtesy to your readers. At the vary least it allows those who are picky about what they read the time to decide if your story will be one they choose.  It will also help those who have severe reactions to certain triggers to avoid them.

I think the fact that I have an anxiety disorder myself I understand the trigger system.  I am not triggered by anything written, but I can sympathise with those who are.  Sometimes surprise is not a good thing. So just take a few moments when you post your stories to think if there is anything worth tagging, anything that might trigger anxiety in people.  Things you should tag include sexual violence (including dubious consent), fertility issues (like miscarriage and stillbirth), detailed violence and torture.  Respect requests for added tags as well.

 

book reviews · bookit

Bookit Review: Blue-Eyed Devil

Title: Blue-Eyed Devil (Travis series #2)
Bookit #8
Author: Lisa Kleypas
Release Date:  2008
Medium: Kindle E-book

WARNING:  This novel covers topics that may cause triggering effects on those who suffered from physical or mental abuse.

Blue-eyed Devil is the second novel in the Travis Series by Liza Kleypas.  I was looking forward to this book, because Hardy had been one of my favorite characters in the first book I read, Brown-Eyed Girl, and he is the hero in this novel after being the one who lost in book 1, Sugar Daddy.

The main character in this novel is Haven Travis, the youngest sibling of the Travis Clan.  It starts soon after the closing of Sugar Daddy in that they are attending Liberty and Gage (the couple from book 1)’s wedding.  It is there she meets Hardy, and it leaves a lasting impression on her.

This book is a little different from romance novels that I have seen in the past, because it involves a couple who faced domestic abuse.  It also deals with the problems children who have faced domestic abuse might have as adults.  I was glad to see that for the most part Haven ends up saving herself, rather than her love interest.  Often times I have seen this written as a ploy to get the two main characters together, and in this novel it’s not.  She is also allowed to get help when she needs it, and not having it forced on her or denied her like some narratives are prone to do.

In fact, their romance, baring the moment at the wedding, doesn’t even start till after Haven removes herself from the abusive relationship.  It also doesn’t look down on therapy, and has really good sibling relationships.  One of the stronger themes in this series is the relationships between the main character (always female) and her siblings.  Book one was about Liberty and her sister Carrington.  This is about Haven and her relationship with her brothers.  Brown-Eyed Girl (book 4) is about Avery and her half-sister Sophia.

This series also has a good record in showing mixed families.  Not everyone’s family is perfect, and not every perfect family is a bad family.  There are single parents, distant parents, parents who were both there, and parents who realised they couldn’t care for their children so they gave them up for adoption.

I also found this relatable because I have dealt with people who are narcissistic in nature, and I have seen the problems they cause for the people around them. I’m not sure I believe the therapist in this story who says abusers are always narcissistic.

Overall, I give this a A, because it had good pacing, the main character manages to save herself half the time, and people deal with their issues instead of having instant cures. However, this book has references to domestic abuse, both physical and mental, as well as rape.  Therefore I suggest you avoid this one if any of those subjects might be triggering for you.