Friday, October 27, 2017

Hostel Territory and Good Trek Bad/Trek # 43 Discovery: Lathe

Intro: I’ve loved Star Trek since I was a kid. I started by watching TNG in 6th grade. I’ve been a fan since then and though I’ve spent a lot of time watching Star Trek, I’ve never watched The Original Series. So, I’m watching and reviewing them as a fan of Star Trek, but one who’s never seen any of them. So I’m watching all the TOS episodes for the first time and saying whether or not they suck. At the end, I give examples of better and/or worse Star Trek episodes to watch that remind me of this episode. Usually, I ramble on about some bullshit before the Trek. That’s it.


I’m back in New York watching Star Trek this week which is nice. I’d been gone for three weeks and it feels good to be back. I was in Chicago the last week and I have to say I was pretty ready to not be anymore. Good to see some folks I haven't seen in a bit. Good to meet people I’d met online through writing for The Whisky Journal in person for the first time. Good to do comedy in places I hadn't before. Lots of fun stuff. All that being said, I was staying at a hostel. Which is probably the worst way to go. When you're performing comedy for almost no or no money you need to cut corners wherever you can and I cut my corners by living in squalor at a hostel. This is not the way adults should travel. No offense to Europeans, but this is no way for an American adult to travel. I understand that you might be British and not know any better, but I'm not and I do. Don't get me wrong I wasn’t thinking of pulling a "Brooks was here" while there. Not that my cheap bunk bed frame would’ve supported my weight anyhow, but still it was tough. I probably wouldn't recommend this as a way to stay places if you have any money. If you don't well then it's not like you have any options, so go ahead and stay at one. I don’t so this isn't my first time doing one of these. I spent a week in a hostel in San Fransisco a few years back and Toronto and in 2005 I spent 95 delightful minutes in Eli Roth's Hostel when that came out. But don't let the tales of murder and torture port fool you, hostels aren't all fun and games. They can be a really lonely and depressing affair. 

I work from home so it's not like I'm used to all kinds of human interaction throughout the day, but this is different. there are people all around and the only thing I've said to anyone in three days here is "pardon me." that'll drive you a little batty. Plus it's all the cons about being alone all day without any of the pros. I'm wearing pants right now. I shouldn't be. There's a lot of shit that goes along with working from home and one of the best things about it is the very relaxed dress code. I put on pants when I goddamn well please. I don't have to listen to society's dictates about when a grown ass adult should put on pants. I put them on if and when I fell like it. Not a second before. So I spent days wearing pants and not talking to anyone. I spend all day alone normally and feel great. Here it was lonely as shit. 


Know what wasn’t depressing and lonely as shit? The latest episode of Discovery, Lathe! It fucking ruled. Here it is. 

Recap:

The open is us getting to learn that Sarek is going on a crazy mission. We don’t know what. And Burnham is mentoring Tilly in the Starfleet art of moderately paced jogging. Before we even get tot he credits though Sarek’s ship is sabotaged by a Vulcan extremist who thinks that Vulcans have no business associating with the outside worlds and tries to blow the ship up. 

The rest of the episode is a few different plots. We’ve got Burnham using her previous mind meld with Sarek to track Sareck down whose ship is floating dead in space while he’s unconscious. We’ve got Captain Lorca trying to convince his superior officer/friend/sometimes lover that he’s not nuts even though he’s really nuts. We also have Burhman wandering through Sarek’s mind and wondering why he’s revisiting the time she let him down and also trying to get him to his meeting with the Klingons so he can try to make sure peace happens. 

None of those plots really sound they’re enough to carry an episode but it really works. The Burnham plot is the meat of the episode, which she does while also learning a lot about her relationship with Sarek and how they really feel about each other. Sarek isn’t saved in time enough to make it to his very important date, but Lorca convinces Admiral Cornwell to go in his stead where she is immediately kidnapped by the Klingons after watching her guards get their throat slit. 

Good Trek?

Yes. A thousand times yes. This was easily my favorite episode of Discovery. The recap sounds a little light. Like these plots wouldn’t really be enough to carry an hour of TV, but boy oh boy does it ever. I had some issues with it, but all in all, it was just great. Easily the Trekiest episode so far too which is probably why I liked it the best. It blends old Trek sensibilities and updates it much better than any of the episodes so far. I still have my issues, but while I was watching it I couldn’t really remember any of them. 
Watch this episode just for how sick this shot is

We get a replacement chief of security. Ash Tyler the guy who was on the Klingon prison ship with Lorca in the previous episode. With Ash Tyler, we finally have another character I give a shit about. It’s still only like half of the characters but I’ll take it. Ash Tyler is a solid fourth person to give a shit about. I like him. We didn’t really get a chance to meet the last chief of security. I don’t remember her name so I’ll just call her Tasha Yar. But anyhow, new Tasha Yar, like old Tasha Yar was dispatched pretty quickly without any kind of warning. Which is a little silly considering that this was pretty heavily billed as the feminist Trek and now we’ve had multiple main female characters who’ve been dispatched and replaced with male ones. I like Ash Tyler. I can’t say more than new Tasha Yar because we didn’t really get a chance to meet her.

A couple things about Sarek. I thought it was kinda dumb that he was a character. I had no problem with a Vulcan having Burnham as a ward who joined Starfleet. I just thought that having Spock’s father be a character was a little dumb. Like it was too up in TOS’s ass about itself. This episode changed my mind on that. It gives backstory to Sarek and Spock’s relationship and why it was strained. It’s the kind of fan service that works perfectly. Kudos, writers. 
Something something DRUMPF! something

I like Spock. Don’t get me wrong I like Spock. I mean he’s the first of the Vulcans so really he set the bar for how they should be, but he played Vulcans as emotionless. Which was wrong I think. Vulcans aren’t emotionless, they suppress them. Sometimes it’s tough. I think Tim Russ did that really well. Zachary Quinto did it well once and then fucked it up two other times. James Frain seems like he’s going to do it really well. At least if this episode is any indication. 

Live until five seconds from now and languish

I feel like I shouldn’t like Cadet Tilly, but I really really do. I haven’t read any of the fan takes on that character yet because who gives a fuck what a bunch of nerds thinks about her. Except for this one, of course. It’s a character that could go either way. She’s too smart and too young. She could easily drift into Wesley Crusher territory and she’s too perky where she could also drift into Ezri Dax territory, but she doesn’t. It’s a testament to the actor, Mary Wiseman for pulling that tightrope act off. Her relationship with Michael Burnham is almost as enjoyable as watching Saru with Burnham.
In space, no one can hear you quote Atlas Shrugged

I hate Captain Lorca. I hate Lorca and I hate that I have to hate him. I don't hate him in a he’s creepy and I love to think he’s creepy kind of way. I think he’s a bad character and I wish we had Captain Georgiou back because she was so much better. She leaned a little too heavily into saying number one, but I liked her relationship with Michael Burnham. She was a solid Starfleet captain who understood that firing first went against Starfleet stood for even if that meant her and her ship might be destroyed. Lorca is a fucking monster. Admiral Cornwell wanted to take away his command despite their previous relationship and she is right to do so. Then he goes and tricks her into going on a mission he’s pretty sure is a trap so he doesn’t get his precious command taken away. That’s fucked. I’ve seen captains do some crazy stuff for their command, but this is WAY over the line. I will not be cool with this show if at a certain point he’s not dead or at some Federation prison colony spending the remainder of his life mining Dilithium.

Future Trek?

Little prediction. I think at a certain point Michael Burnham, the first Federation mutineer, is going to realize that despite what she thought in the first two episodes is going to realize that Federation ideals are worth fighting for no matter the cost. And despite everything Captain Lorca has done to help her rehabilitate herself she will turn on him and either kill him or turn him into the authorities with proof of his incompetence. Here’s hoping at least. He needs something to come to his way because he’s a real piece of shit.  

Better Trek?

This is an absolutely great episode. I wouldn’t really tell you to watch a better one because you should watch this one. It’s solid and the crew is really starting to mesh. At least the four ones that aren’t forgettable or don’t suck are starting to mesh. If you want to watch another episode where a character is drifting in an area of space that’s impossible to scan so a character with a personal connection has to rescue him then check out Penumbra. Honestly, it’s been a while since I’ve seen this one. I don’t remember it as being amazing so it’s probably not as good as this one. It’s not too bad. In it, Ezri Dax saves Worf from the Badlands. I’m not a huge Ezri fan. I felt if they were going to kill of Dax they should’ve kept her dead. But I love Worf and it’s part of the final arc of the final season of DS9 most of which are solid. 

If you want to watch an episode where two characters have their minds connected and have to share secrets with each other against their will then go with TNG’s Attached. Picard and Dr. Crusher have their minds connected while trying to escape some bad hombres. They learn a lot about each other. Some of which they’d have preferred the other not know. It gives real depth to the characters and meaning to their relationship. 

If Lorca’s arc was more your style and you want to see a captain who will go to any lengths to keep his ship then I’d say leave the Trek universe and watch the Firefly episode Out of Gas. There’s only a handful of Firefly episodes so I guess watch them all. In this one Serenity’s engines go bust leaving them adrift in space. They’re far from anyone who might hear their cries for help so everything looks pretty bleak. This is the episode where we get to learn how everyone came to be aboard Serenity and what the ship means to Mal and what he’ll do to keep it. It’s a sweet look at a captain’s fanatical relationship with his ship, but in this one, he doesn’t try to murder his friend, superior officer, and fuck buddy. Which is nice. 

That’s it for this week. Hopefully we’ll get to know the doctor a bit more in the coming episodes so he doesn’t suck so much. 

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Busy Racists, Knowing Me Is A Tremendous Burden, and Good Trek/Bad Trek #42 Discovery: Choose Your Pain

I was reading the comments on a website the other day and one of the commenters complained that he'd been waiting all day to comment. This was a huge inconvenience for him I guess because he was pissed. He finally got the site up and running and was able to post his comment. A comment that was incredibly racist. That struck me as odd. Not that someone would be racist on the internet. That shouldn't really be a surprise to anyone at this point. But the fact that the internet made this guy take a timeout by having the site be broken. He was able to sit down and think about what awful thing he needed to say and he still said it. Not only did he still feel the need to say it, he was pissed he wasn't able to say it sooner. That's messed up. Even for internet behavior.

What kind of piece of shit are you where circumstances preventing you from being racist is a huge inconvenience? What is it that you even need to do where this is screwing up your day? I have trouble that this character's inability to say something racist in a timely fashion really prevented this dude from getting to the soup kitchen on time or anything like that. I don't' think that there was too much else on the agenda aside from being a sack of shit on the old to do list. The only thing I'm sure that

I'm about to leave Michigan and it's probably about time. There are three stages to going back to where you're from. At first, you're just excited to see people and people are (I think) excited to see you. That's the fun part. It feels nice. You get to catch up. Then comes the weird ass in between feeling. You feel weird being back. Like you're homesick and like you've never left at the same time. It's confusing and weird and usually, leads to sitting in your parents living room drinking and watching basic cable. Eventually, that gives way to a feeling where you can't wait to get the fuck out of here and never come back. Love my family. Miss them when I don't see them. Can't wait to miss them again. Not to mention that it's not easy explaining to my family what a Trek blog is and why I'm doing one. Mostly because I have no idea myself what the point of this is. And if I don't know how the hell am I supposed to get my grandpa to understand the point of it.

Plus, maybe it's just my own shit here, but it's hard not to feel like a burden when you're bouncing from family member's house to family member's house. I'm borrowing cars I'm eating all their cheese. You go out of town and come back and then you get to be a burden on everyone. It's not like everyone had trouble filling their week until I showed up. No. They all have the same shit going on only now they have me. So I'm heading off to Chicago for a week. Where I'll be staying in a hostel. Looking forward to being a burden on strangers for a while.

Speaking of burdens, I watched Star Trek Discovery and I'm still not sure if I like it. Here goes.

Recap:

Captain Lorca gets kidnapped. Kidnapped most foul. Turns out the Klingons are onto him and his spore drive, and they need to know what gives. So they snatch him up in a really badass scene where his shuttle is attacked.

Meanwhile, on Discovery some folks are realizing that maybe strapping a sentient being into their engine and forcing it to do your bidding is really not cool. The tardigrade is being tortured and they don't know how long it's going to survive at this rate. Burnham, Engineer Stamets, and Tilly aren't happy about it. Acting Captain Saru don't give no shits. He needs that spore drive to save the captain and he doesn't give a shit how tortured that makes the tardigrade.
THERE ARE FOUR LIGHTS!

On the Klingon jail ship, Captain Lorca meets up with another captured member of Starfleet in addition to friend of the blog, Harry Mudd. Here played by Rainn Wilson. It's a pretty self-contained episode despite drawing a lot on the previous tardigrade stuff. The captain gets out after realizing that Mudd is a piece of shit. The Discovery folks grant the tardigrade its freedom and Stamets hooks himself up to the spore drive after injecting himself with tardigrade DNA which tricks the spore drive for some stupid reason. That's it.

Good Trek?

I don't know yet. I really liked the first two episodes. I liked them a lot. I thought three and four were pretty good. This one was, I just don't know. It's good. They've all been good. I just don't know if I like them. I know I'm an old fuddy-duddy, but maybe this new generation just likes a flashier Trek than I can adjust to. It reminds me of Riverdale. I haven't seen it, but I've heard things. I'm sure it's fine. It has a very loyal fanbase and I'm not saying it's bad, but if you tune into Riverdale hoping for some hilarious Jughead hijinx, you might walk away disappointed.
Genie, you're free!

Part of the problem is I don't really know most the characters. Lorca has been very one note. So has Stamets. Neither are awful, but I also don't really give a shit when they're on screen. I love Burnham and Saru and I really like Tilly. The rest I don't even really know their names. I had to look up Stamet's name three times while writing this and I've seen all five episodes. I don't know the name of the lady with the metal shit on her face. I don't know the doctor's name and I'm not even looking that one up because of how much of a dud he is. I didn't think it was possible to find a weaker doctor than Pulaski, but they went ahead and did it. Doctors are usually a strong suit of any Trek franchise. Bones set the bar pretty high in how awesome he was. The Doctor from VOY is great, I'm a firm Bashir defender especially in later seasons. And I think I speak for most guys when I say that Dr. Crusher was one of my first loves. Even Dr. Phlox had his moments.  Nobody was shitting their pants for more Phlox time, but still. At least he wasn't a big stupid dud.
We have a great comedic actor playing a historically comedic character: Best take the dark and brooding approach

Now that we know that the doctor and Stamet's are an item that could be something, but honestly at this point, I don't even really give a shit. Don't get me wrong I'm glad Trek is finally incorporating gay characters in a real way, but do they both have to be such huge fucking duds? Plus, this is a silly gripe, but I have trouble believing that Starfleet is cool putting two folks who are dating in the same quarters. That sounds like a recipe for disaster. What, you're just gonna move in with your boyfriend immediately? Come on. I can't imagine this is either of your first time here dating someone. This is a bad idea.
Hey fellas, how's about don't waste extract where you food replicate.

It's a good show and it's done well, but it's just so unrelentingly dark. Where's the levity? This is Trek. I'm not saying every episode has to be The Trouble With Tribbles but you can have the occasional light moment. We get one during the whole episode. And it's a great one. The first F-bomb in any Trek that I know of. It's great and I laughed, but the rest is so bleak. It's tough to watch. There's a lot to like, but there's so much that just seems foreign. I don't know. I'm keeping with it, but I want more Tilly saying "fuck" and less long brooding Klingon speeches.

Better Trek?

You want some levity, check out the last Harry Mudd episode I watched. It was just a few weeks ago so it's fresh in my memory. It's called I, Mudd and it was really fun. Even though the crew was in mortal danger the entire episode it was fun and silly.

If you're into Klingons on a prison ship then go with By Inferno's Light. A later DS9 episode. Worf and a Garek are captured in Dominion space. Worf is forced to fight members of the Jem'Hadar while Garek and Bashir are trying to devise a way out. It's an absolute powerhouse. One of my favs.

That's it for this week. I don't know how much Trek I'll be able to watch from my hostel next week, but we'll see.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Michigan, Sliding Doors, and Good Trek/Bad Trek #41 More Discovery

Intro: I’ve loved Star Trek since I was a kid. I started by watching TNG in 6th grade. I’ve been a fan since then and though I’ve spent a lot of time watching Star Trek, I’ve never watched The Original Series. So, I’m watching and reviewing them as a fan of Star Trek, but one who’s never seen any of them. So I’m watching all the TOS episodes for the first time and saying whether or not they suck. At the end, I give examples of better and/or worse Star Trek episodes to watch that remind me of this episode. Usually, I ramble on about some bullshit before the Trek. That’s it. 

I'm in Michigan right now. If you too are in Michigan then you should come to any of these shows that haven't happened yet.


I'm in Michigan right now. I've been here the past week or so. Michigan is where I'm from, and it's nice to be back. Not just because it's where a lot of my family currently is. Though it's nice to see all of them. It's good to be back here for other reasons. For example, I'm twenty pounds overweight and have been complimented on my muscles three times since I've been here. So if you're curious about how fat a state Michigan is it's about that fat.

Going back to where your from can mess with your head. I left Michigan seven years ago and even though I largely heart New York going back to where your from can mess with your head. Whenever I go back to Michigan I always start thinking about the Sliding Doors movie trailer.

The Sliding Doors movie trailer is a trailer based on the movie Sliding Doors. I haven't seen the movie, but I saw the trailer and I'm pretty sure I get the gist. It's a trailer about what could have been (I think). You start questioning all your decisions. You start seeing places you used to live and think about everything that's brought you to where you are and where you could've been. You see people leading lives you might have lived had you stayed. Were they right? Who knows. They all seem happy and a lot of them have dishwashers. That's pretty sweet.

I get to see friends and family that I don't' get to see a lot which is nice. Are they happy to see me or they just happy that they don't have to see me again for a while? Do I miss Michigan or do miss the fact that this is where I was 21 and still had a glimmer of hope in my eyes? Who the fuck knows.

One thing I don't have to wonder about is whether the last two episodes of Star Trek Discovery were any good. They were pretty good. Here goes...

Recap:

I decided to watch Discovery again instead of a TOS episode. I actually did watch a TOS episode as well, but whatever. I think there's only 6 more after the two I watched this week. I'll probably get back to TOS after that.

Badass
I watched the third and fourth episode of Discovery. They were pretty good. Michael Burnham is on her way to a prison colony after being found guilty of being Starfleet's first mutineer. For some reason, everyone seems to think that she's responsible for the war with the Klingons. That doesn't really jive, but whatever. The transport is about to crash when they're saved by the Discovery. Of the show Star Trek: discovery. Ten minutes into the third episode and we finally get to see the eponymous ship, and it looks sick. I thought the CGI was a little off on the Shenzhou, but this one looks a thousand times better. I guess they didn't want to blow their budget on a ship they knew wasn't seeing the end of the pilot.
Commander Red Shirt
We get to see Burnham be badass defending herself from some attackers before she's whisked off to Captain Lorca. He wants her help before she's off to her prison colony. She's supposed to still go to prison, but I think we all knew that there will be a reason for her to stay. If not the show would be called Star Trek: Prison Colony.
Don't have to worry about Klingons because that is not a bat'leth

They investigate the destruction of the Discovery's sister ship the USS Glenn. The ship probably destroyed itself because it had such a dumb name. There's a bunch of dead folks on the ship and a giant bug looking alien. They capture the bug alien and get off. And the mystery is revealed the Discovery is a science war vessel that's been working on a new kind of propulsion using spores. Spores that somehow open little highways all over the galaxy. I didn't' really get what they were talking about. It might make sense to you. It sure as shit did not to me.

RIP USS Glenn. You're Trek was as brief as your name was dumb


The giant bug alien is a supergiant version of a microscopic organism known as a tardigrade. They need to find out why the Glenn had a giant tardigrade and also why the tardigrade went apeshit and killed everyone and also how to get their spore drive online because the Klingons have attacked a dilithium mine and if they don't fend them off soon the war effort might just be done for.
I'm not locked in here with you, you're locked in here with me

Turns out the tardigrade is part of the spore drive(?) which just kind of confused me even more. So the giant microscopic beast thing is part of the engine now I guess. So by strapping that thing in, they're able to go disrupt the Klingon attack and save the dilithium plant and everyone is pretty happy. Except for Saru because he doesn't trust Burnham at all and isn't' happy that the captain made her a full-fledged member of the crew.

Good Trek?

I don't care what you think of this show the opening credits just rule. Probably the best one ever. It captures everything hopeful about Star Trek and also captures the prequel nature of the show perfectly. Enterprise tried to pull it off, but they had that godawful song that really fucked it up.

Trek or Trek not there is no Sea Quest DSV

Captain Lorca has some serious Ben Sisko qualities which I like. He's got a single-minded focus on the war. You don't want to do anything to win the war then get the hell off his ship. There's a lot of dumb nerd debates over who is the best captain and I think they're all bullshit. Picard, Janeway, and Sisko are all great for their own reasons. I'll give Kirk some props in that I've been getting to know him through my TOS watching. He has his moments. He set the template for Star Trek captains, but Shatner just plain sucks and Kirk as a character is only slightly better.

The Bones Award for burn of the week goes to Saru

The Discovery looks amazing. I hope they take it in a Galactica direction and have the ship actually show wear and tear throughout its journey. I know that's probably tough to do effects-wise but it gives the universe such a lived-in feel when done right. They're far away. They're going to be fighting Klingons. It was bizarre that Voyager made it all the way back having never visited a space dock and barely had a scratch on its hull when it got back to the Alpha Quadrant sweet Alpha Quadrant.

I liked Captain Georgiou from the first two episodes. It was nice to see that little moment between Burnham and her hologram. I can't imagine they'll keep on using the hologram in the episodes but I hope she comes back in flashbacks. Their dynamic was great.

Part of the reason the prequel thing sucks is that if they're supposed to be working on this amazing new propulsion system, but unless this is your first Trek trek then you know already this doesn't pan out at some point because none of the rest of the Treks have spore drives. It's a good story and I'm curious to see how, why, and when the spore drive goes south. They're telling it well so I'm enjoying the ride, but still.

I don't If any Trek people out there were really clamoring for more Klingon authenticity. The voice of the main villain is pretty ridiculous. I don't like it. It takes me out of it. I would've been more than fine with watching Klingons speak English. I'm already watching a show about alien warriors battling it out in space. I can suspend a little bit more disbelief for the sake of not having to hear authentic Klingon speaking.

How many goddamn characters are we going to meet and then watch them get dispatched? The chief of security is dead now which is a shame. We didn't really get a chance to get to know her all that well, but at the same time, I liked what they were doing. It seemed like they were trying to redo Tasha Yar's character. Which would've been cool to see done right. But oh well, she's dead now.

The fourth episode is really the first real episode. It goes well with the first three but at it's the first where we're not meeting new characters or finding ourselves on a new ship.

Better Trek: 

I don't like how they're using the tardigrade to power their ship. This all seems really antithetical to Starfleet and the Trek I know and love. It's a new species they just discovered and now they're making it their slave. That's messed up. Granted Sisko did some shit that's pretty questionable but he felt awful. Lorca doesn't seem to have any qualms whatsoever. I don't like that. I wasn't crazy about a Starfleet officer trying to fire on the Klingons first, but that worked because Burnham knew there would be consequences for her actions and she looked like she was going to pay for them. You want to see a captain really struggling with doing something terrible because he thinks it's for the greater good then watch DS9's In The Pale Moonlight. This is just a dynamite episode that has Sisko recording a log for a good chunk of the episode. He stares at the camera and it's just a powerhouse performance

Also, I'd check out the VOY episode equinox if you're into watching an alien race being sacrificed to better a starship's engines. Janeway encounters another Federation ship that's been sacrificing an alien species to better its engines. Only now the alien species is pissed off and fighting back and has crippled the USS Equinox. Janeway goes into full badass mode when she realizes how far these folks have strayed from their Federation ideals. I love Janeway when she gets in righteous indignation mode and she's at her most righteous and indignant in this episode. It's just great.

That's it for this one. Probably more Discovery, but who knows. Check out that trailer for Sliding Doors. Pretty good I think. And don't forget to cheer on whichever MLB has your favorite former Tigers. I'm hoping for either a Verlander Granderson or Verlander Scherzer World Series.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Alex Jones, #FAKENEWS, Good Trek/Bad Trek #40 I, Mudd, and Also Some Sex Robot Talk Thrown In For Good Measure

Intro: I’ve loved Star Trek since I was a kid. I started by watching TNG in 6th grade. I’ve been a fan since then and though I’ve spent a lot of time watching Star Trek, I’ve never watched The Original Series. So, I’m watching and reviewing them as a fan of Star Trek, but one who’s never seen any of them. So I’m watching all the TOS episodes for the first time and saying whether or not they suck. At the end, I give examples of better and/or worse Star Trek episodes to watch that remind me of this episode. Usually, I ramble on about some bullshit before the Trek. That’s it.

I'm in Michigan right now which is pretty nice. If you also are in Michigan then I'll be doing a show in Hazel Park at a place called Cellarman's on Saturday and you should come to it. They make an amazing basil IPA that'll knock your socks off. I'm not going to lie, that's really the main reason I'm back in Michigan. 

Come to this, please

I left on Tuesday the after the shit hit the fan over in Las Vegas. Everything that needs to be said about gun control has been said. I think what's worse is how folks respond to shit like like this. I was on Twitter getting all the hot takes and I came across Alex Jones' Twitter. I follow Alex Jones. I think he's a tremendous fraud, but he's increasingly influential for some insane fucking reason. He was reporting some bullshit. Which is normal. What gets me about Alex Jones is that he starts some crazy ass website called Infowars then he's on the radio or on that weird youtube channel and he cites his own website as a source. It's mostly just him and a couple of his friends. That's not a source. that's the farthest thing from a source. He was saying that the Vegas shooter was actually a Muslim and he was citing a special Infowars report. That's not a source. That's your crazy friend. But what's worse is that it's not just your crazy friend. It's the President and millions of other people's crazy friend. And they're all listening to what he has to say like he's not just some goddamn lunatic. 

Fake news has been in the news news a lot lately. And the real news is in the fake news a lot too. Partly because of Alex Jones and his ilk. There's a lot of shit that's wrong with the mainstream media. I don't think it's above reproach, but it takes a special kind of weirdo to seek out someone like Alex Jones for all your news needs. The dude is a fraud. He knows there's a lot of dumb dumbs out there and he's doing his damnedest to exploit them for all their worth and in America, dumdums are worth their weight in gold. And dumdums also weigh a lot so that's a lot of gold to be worth.

The whole fake news phenomenon seems like most other problems in this country in that it's been around for decades, and now that it's too late we've decided to address it. Rush Limbaugh has been the most listened to radio personality for thirty years. He's been right there on the dial but we all skipped over him and ignored him because we think of him as a laughable buffoon. And in all fairness he very much is. But he's a force. Half the country thinks of Rush and Alex Jones and Sean Hannity as not fat blowhards exploiting dumdums, but they think of them as the news. That's messed up.

We've let half the country become the guy with the blonde tips in Momento. We've let Rush Limbaugh tattoo on our arms not to believe the lies of the mainstream media for so many years and now that's where we are. Except we're all Teddy in this situation. I don't know. It's been a while since I've seen Momento, but I think that sounds right. My point is you can't get rid of it because people don't want it gone. People seek this shit out because they've been conditioned to think that these idiots are just rich SOBs exploiting their lack of critical thinking, but members of the media. You can ignore them and they use the fact that the mainstream media is ignoring them because they're too close to the truth. You can go after them and then they use that as proof that they're too close to the truth. It's not that this is out there it's that most people have come to demand that it stays there. When their crazy conspiracies and weird ideas are reported on and debunked it's because they're being attacked by the deep state and entrenched interests. We've let it go too long and now I don't really think there's any way to stop it. That's where we are and it's depressing as shit to think about. 


Know what isn't fake news? Both that this week's Trek was I, Mudd and it was pretty damned good. 

Recap:

Not expecting to like this one because of how much I hated the first Mudd episode, but here we go. We get to start with some real classic Bones. He doesn't like the cut of a new guy's gib and lets Spock know all about it. Spock likes the new guy and thinks that Bones is just being an emotional human. Good solid Bones Spock exchange to start.Alright, I'm not even at the opening credits and I'm on board. 
Love me some Bones burning Spock
Turns out that Bones was right to be skeptical of this Norman character because he immediately goes bananas and starts beating the shit out of everyone and takes over the ship. Starts beating the shit out of everyone and taking over the ship most foul. 

Norman takes over the ship and storms the bridge. Turns out that he's a robot. His name is still Norman though. He takes them to a planet that is being run by an old friend of the Enterprise, Harry Mudd. He runs this planet with thousands of pretty lady androids and one not very pretty Norman android. Turns out that even though he gets to fuck all these lady androids Mudd is getting bored with this planet and wants to leave. But the sex robots and Norman won't let him leave unless he finds them more human specimens to study and have sex with. So he has them get the Enterprise. 
Norman Ruxbin

There's a problem. Now that the sex robots and Norman have been studying Harry Mudd they know how messed up we are as a species. So they don't want to let him leave. In fact, they want to go out and take over the whole galaxy and rule with an iron sex robot plus Norman fist. 

Harry Mudd and 1/1000th of his sex robot harem

So Kirk devises a plan where he just acts like a silly goose and confuses the sex robots plus Norman with their illogic. Smoke comes out of their heads and they're defeated. And in the most ridiculous ending yet, the gang leaves Mudd on the planet with 500 robot versions of his ex-wife. Which is ridiculous but works and it made me laugh. 

Good Trek?

You know what, it sure as shit was. I didn't expect to like it. Star Trek has a pretty rough history with intentional comedy. All Treks do. Some do it better than others, but throughout the history of all the Treks, they've shown that it can be tough to make a funny episode. A lot of episodes have had some funny stuff in there, but comedy episodes can be rough. I liked this one a lot. Harry Mudd is great. I know this flies in the face of what I wrote last time I wrote about him. This is his second (of three total, I think) appearance. I guess the actor who played Mudd, Roger C. Carmel has the distinction of being the only actor to play the same character in more than one episode of TOS. not including the main cast, which is neat. He deserves it. He's so silly and over the top, but it really works. 

(If you want to read my trashing of the first Harry Mudd Episode from Good Trek/Bad Trek #8 here it is. Though, considering how much I like this one I might have to revisit it soon
Despite all my rage I keep a robot version of my ex-wife in a cage


It's weird that this one is played for such laughs considering the plot. Robots are going to take over the galaxy and leave these people on this planet as their prisoners? That's fucked up. 
I love everything this implies

There's a lot of 60's era sexism in this episode. To a pretty ridiculous degree. Uhura goes bonkers over the prospect of being pretty forever. That's pretty silly. Mudd's relationship with his ex-wife robot is pretty silly. The fact that Mudd has such a weird number of lady robots seems off. These are strong androids with their eyes on galactic domination so I know there's more to them than what I'm about to say, but according to Mudd, they're good for sex. He thinks they're just good for sex. He even says that he sees no need for male robots. So there's the one Norman and thousands of lady robots. But only like four models. That's a little weird. Who's gonna make hundreds of the same lady if you want variety? I can understand a couple, but hundreds of identical sex robots seems like the completely wrong approach to having a sex robot factory at your disposal. If you have a machine that makes you an unlimited amount of sex robots then you should maybe spice it up a bit. Mudd's ultimate sexual fantasy is to have sex with three variations of any one of thousands of similar looking brunettes. I understand having a type, but Jesus Christ Mudd. I just don't understand what the fantasy about that is. Yeah, twins is a common fantasy. I think it's a little gross, but it's a pretty common fantasy. So you have two of these robots you get the whole twin thing without being an accomplice to incest. Even triplets, okay I get it. But beyond that seems like a whole lot of overkill. What's his whole thing here? He gets bored with one and then moves onto any one of thousands of others who look and act exactly the same as the one before? That's just monogamy. Kinda. I know you're not supposed to judge people's sexual fantasies, but that seems like an odd one. And also, even the ones that aren't identical to each other look an awful lot alike. They're still brunettes of similar builds. I guess Mudd never heard that old adage about variety being the spice of life. That and that alone is my only problem with this episode. I guess he could always make new models, but still. I'm calling bullshit on this whole sex robot operation.  
The future: The more things change, the more they stay the same. AMIRIGHT, FELLAS!

The last Mudd episode had some pretty sexist undertones and this one is almost as bad, but it's just so goddamn silly. The end, where all his ex-wives are chasing him around and the caption says "nagging continues" come on. That's some 60's era gold right there. I genuinely laughed. 

Better Trek?

For a lot of TNG, the Ferengi were kind of a whole race of Harry Mudds. They were villains but mostly played for laughs. One of my favorites is Rascals. I don't think the episode is that highly regarded among Trek nerds, but I've always liked it. A transporter accident makes Picard, Keiko, Ensign Ro, and Guinan turn into children at the same time as a group of Ferengi take over the ship. It's funny to see a child aged Picard realize that twelve-year-old him doesn't have the same authority as the adult version and then have him use that to his advantage. The kid who plays young Picard obviously doesn't have the same acting chops as Patrick Stewart, but still. Also, the relationship between child Keiko and her husband is great. I don't know if it's a better episode as I really enjoyed both, but it's a good one to watch. 

Worse Trek?

If you want an episode that was going for broad laughs that's also hopelessly outdated and steeped in dated stereotypes but doesn't hold up nearly as well then go with DS9's Profit and Lace. Quark has to undergo gender reassignment, and hilarity very much does not ensue. It's pretty brutal. The Ferengi are fleshed out a lot more in DS9 than in TNG mainly due to a lot of great actors. This one is pretty brutal in retrospect though. 

Maybe Trek?

I haven't watched Discovery episode three yet. I'm hoping it's great. I'll let you know. In fact, I'm thinking about switching over to Discovery recaps for the remainder of the season. We'll see. 

That's it for this week. I think I'm doing Discovery next week. I don't know the name of the episode. So aside from that, come to a show if you're near Detroit and please stop shooting each other. And also, fuck Alex Jones.