51 comments posted · 25 followers · following 0

2 years ago @ Mark Watches - Mark Watches 'Discover... · 2 replies · +2 points

> Discovery has a crew of 134. So apparently the starships of this era are not overcrowded, and Dscovery
> doesn't appear to be a notably small ship. How did Starfleet lose more than 8000 people at the Battle of
> the Binary stars when there were only 12 ships there?

Discovery is a classified science vessel, however. It's not obvious we can extrapolate from it to the level of staffing in the standard starfleet ships.

> Cornwell: “This organization's only convicted mutineer is viewed by many, justifiably or not, as the
> cause of our conflict with the Klingons. To see her avoiding justice does nothing for general morale.”
> Cornwell knows Burham didn’t start the war, but wants her locked up anyway for morale reasons
> because “many” people irrationally blame her for the war she didn’t start? That ain’t what Starfleet is
> supposed to be.

Well, no, she wants her locked up because she's a convincted mutineer. She is saying that Lorca's use of a legal loophole to essentially pardon her unilaterally will her morale implications. The Federation is about lots of things, but one thing that has been consistent across series (unlike the tech) is an emphasis on naval hierarchies and discipline, and mutiny is one of the most serious crimes in that context regardless of motivation or consequence. We don't have to agree with it, but it is consistent.

As for the final shot: V guvax gung'f whfg fhccbfrq gb or n ivfhny zrgncube gb fubj gung Fgnzrgf vf va zber gebhoyr guna ur npxabjyrqtrf. Ohg vg sryg ernyyl bhg bs cynpr va n fubj gung hfhnyyl vf dhvgr yvgreny va jung vg qrcvpgf.

2 years ago @ Mark Watches - Mark Watches 'Discover... · 1 reply · +2 points

I'm not sure what the comparison here is; the use of the n-word in DS9 was appropriate (in the sense that it was used by a black man calling out anti-black racism), but it wasn't joyful to hear, or something that I think Mark (or most of us) would wish to see other characters use casually, the way he is suggesting they use "fuck".

"Shpx" vf abg hfrq ntnva va Qvfpbirel, ng yrnfg abg fb sne. Vg jnf hfrq frireny gvzrf va Cvpneq, naq gurer ner n pbhcyr bs pnfrf va Ybjre Qrpxf jurer vg'f gur cebonoyr vqragvgl bs n oyrrcrq jbeq.

4 years ago @ Mark Watches - Mark Watches 'Doctor W... · 0 replies · +1 points

Heh, we both made posts about the same point at the same time.

4 years ago @ Mark Watches - Mark Watches 'Doctor W... · 0 replies · +10 points

I have read all sorts of criticisms of Bill's ending, some of them focusing on her cyberman transformation and some of them focussing on how it was odd that Heather was brought back after being off the show for so long. And both of these are valid, but both of these are also very much part of the Doctor Who DNA - most companions suffer unfairly, and most emotional relationships that don't involve the Doctor are underdeveloped.

Let me just say - when I first saw the episode, I was satisfied. I felt it was effective on many levels, including Bill's rebirth. My issue arose later, when I thought back to the episode (and I'm hardly the only person who noticed this). And it is this - Bill's ending really mirrors Clara's ending. A seemingly fatal result (death/cyber-transformation) is undone. They get to explore the universe on their own terms. And the Doctor is left in the dark about what happened. I think Clara's ending was perfect for her, because what she really wanted was to be the Doctor, and in the end she got her wish. For Bill, it was just arbitrary.

If there was more of a gap between the two, this wouldn't really be an issue. Recurring themes are another property of Who. But these were literally the ending of two consecutive series. I just wanted something different for Bill. I'm really glad that this wasn't a tragic ending, but if Moffat really wanted to have her go through the wringer and emerge out the other side intact, he could have found a less repetitive way to do so.

4 years ago @ Mark Watches - Mark Watches 'Doctor W... · 0 replies · +15 points

I loved Extremis, and I thought this was a solid follow-up, but honestly, the weakest part of both episodes are the Monks themselves. They seem to be an enemy who actions follow plot logic rather than any sort of internal logic. In Extremis, they pop into their own simulation and kill a priest for absolutely no reason except that it increases the tension. They then conveniently leave the portal to their projector room open in time for Bill and Nardole to explore.

In this episode, whenever someone surrenders, they seem to come up with reasons that their consent isn't good enough because if it was, the episode would end too early (not to mention that the final decision needs to be made by a main character, but that's consistent with Who more generally).

Also, did anyone else get the impression that in one of their first simulations of Earth, one of them looked around and said "Hey, guys, did you notice that we look just like dried-out human corpses? Isn't that weird? Anyway, I was looking in the simulation yesterday and I saw that some of the humans were watching a movie called 'The Mummy' and I realised that dried-out human corpses tend to come from pyramids. If we make all our landing shuttles look like pyramids, I'm sure the humans will get a kick out of it and let us take over with no problems!"

5 years ago @ Mark Watches - Mark Watches 'Steven U... · 1 reply · +16 points

First, I didn't say it was bad. Just that it wasn't as good at handling them as it was about handling its themes of identity and personal discovery.

Second, you're right that it didn't fall into a lot of possible traps. But I do think that, especially in season 5, the show consistently chose to be a story about individuals and their self discovery, and about the reactions of their immediate environment and families, rather than a show about political power structures. Which is a perfectly valid choice, but it left a lot of threads dangling. Which wouldn't be a problem at all if it didn't push some of those threads into the foreground earlier - I already mentioned the human zoo. There's also fact that gems can apparently only reproduce via invading other biospheres and destroying them. Is that going to change?

I'm not seeking retribution against the diamonds. What I am commenting on is the thematic imbalance here - the show resolved the plot of Steven, and his relationship to Rose/Pink, beautifully. It showed a clear path to healing her family, and showed that they were going down that path. But it left a lot of the other aspects of Gem society unresolved. And I think it's perfectly fine to enjoy the show for the triumph that it is - especially "Change Your Mind", while acknowledging that the story contained a lot more than its resolution covered.

5 years ago @ Mark Watches - Mark Watches 'Steven U... · 3 replies · +22 points

One thing I realised about this episode, and that Mark's review helped me further understand, is that Steven Universe works far better as a struggle about personal identity than as a story about colonialism. As a story of growth and acceptance and love - both directed at one's self and at others - this was probably one of the most brilliant hours ever shown on television, and Mark explained why a lot better than I could. As a story about an oppressive genocidal regime, it both brings up important issues and resolves them WAY too easily. And I think this episode really shows this tension. Because while it is definitely everything that Mark said it is, it's also a story about how a progressive member of the ruling elite managed to convince her family members to be less oppressive and that apparently fixed everything.

So I guess I'm thinking that I wish that some aspects of the Gem Empire wouldn't have been brought up - the human zoo for example - instead of being raised but not properly resolved. Because then I could focus only on what the show does so amazingly well without having this unsatisfied voice at the back of my mind distracting me. Or maybe season 6 will fix this by shifting the focus to dealing with the repercussions of the Gem Empire. I'll definitely be watching when it comes, so I'll find out.

5 years ago @ Mark Watches - Mark Watches 'Steven U... · 1 reply · +21 points

I actually really appreciate how horribly wrong this all went. The show felt for a while like it's going to reduce the diamond conflict to interpersonal issues - that the diamonds will realise the error of their ways just like Peridot did, just as soon as Steven gets them to listen. But Peridot's redemption ark was driven by the fact that Peridot's inherent homeworld prejudices were accepted unquestioningly by her, and once she started to question them, they all came tumbling down. The diamonds are the ones who set the rules. Like many powerful bigots, they are hypocrites, and are willing to turn a blind eye when loved ones (Pink/Steven) cross their established lines, long as it's in private and inconsequential. But there's a big gap between (grudgingly) tolerating Garnet because that pleases Steven and an actual redemption ark, or expressing willingness in theory to heal the corrupted gems and actually giving a damn about them.

By this point in the show's run, I'm not surprised that the "Legs from Here to Homeworld" didn't actually establish a new status quo, and that bigotry is not as simply resolved by "and actually we're all family". But I'm gratified to see the illusion being shattered.

5 years ago @ Mark Watches - Mark Watches 'Babylon ... · 0 replies · +11 points

Thank you for posting this.

5 years ago @ Mark Watches - Mark Watches 'Babylon ... · 0 replies · +7 points

If it's of Hebrew origin, yes (though so does the English name "Dickson", so it's not that unique).