reverse the polarity

The other night, I couldn't get my car to start. I solved the problem by reversing the polarity of the car battery, and routing the power through my satellite dish. The resulting subspace plasma caused a rift in the space-time continuum, which created a quantum tunnelling effect that charged the protons in the engine core, thus starting my car. Child's play, really. As a happy side-effect, I also now get the Spice Channel for free.

brilliant! Though for the more serious Star Trek aficianado, I have to plug Jammer's reviews, by Jamahl Epsicokhan. He sufferred through the Voyager years, and was a pure masochist for Andromeda. But the real value is his insightful analyses of Enterprise. For example, from his review of The Breach:

Hudak turns out to be an Antaran, who immediately and adamantly refuses to be treated by Phlox on the basis that Phlox is a Denobulan. Phlox must respect the patient's wishes in accordance with Denobulan medical ethics. Without treatment, Hudak will die in a matter of days.

The bitterness here runs beyond deep. When Archer inquires about the situation, Phlox explains that the Antarans and the Denobulans were once, some three centuries ago, locked in a brutal war. The facts are left somewhat vague (Phlox is not particularly comfortable discussing it in detail), but it seems the Denobulans slaughtered millions of Antarans in the course of this war, using some especially ugly battle methods. "It wasn't our proudest moment," Phlox says quietly.

After the war ended, there began a bitter divide between the Denobulans and the Antarans. The societies no longer had any sort of relationship or dialog between them, but each society would pass down its history and hatred for the other side -- from one generation to the next. Many of those feelings have survived to the present day, even though Denobulans and Antarans haven't encountered each other for six generations.

The story is about the possibility of the healing process and whether healing can overcome centuries of learned prejudice. Hudak, being the guest character, represents the side that initially does not want to budge. Phlox, being a permanent resident of this series, represents the more comforting side of the situation: a man with an open mind who does not wish to judge those on the basis of ancient history. Can an understanding be reached between these two? (Well, I've already answered that question. The answer is, this is traditional Star Trek.)

The early sense of frustration I mentioned is best shown in a scene where Phlox loses his self-control and uncorks his bottled feelings after Hudak persists in baselessly slandering his intentions. Phlox lets loose a brief tirade: "I have tried to treat you with respect, but I refuse to listen to these insults. You're the reason we haven't been able to put the past behind us. You've kept this hatred alive. No Denobulan would want to be in the same room with you!" It's a potent moment; the suddenness of Phlox exploding into this angry outburst comes across almost like an involuntary result of pent-up frustration. It felt very real and also worked as an attention grabber. John Billingsley shows a credible ability to turn on a dime from his usual affable nature to sullen and then emotional.

Having reviews of this quality is a luxury. If you have a favorite episode, you're almost certain to find his review to contribute to your understanding and appreciation for all that is good about Star Trek.

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