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[OA] Overthinkers Anonymous notes on ST: Picard S01E05

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#1 Orpheus

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Posted 05 March 2020 - 05:20 PM

I heard that "el" was Elvish for "star or sky" and "nor" meant "walk (or trek)", which would make Elnor both "Star Trek" and "Skywalker", ruining both for me.

Fortunately, as an overthinker, I looked it up: "el" does mean "star" in every Elvish tongue, but "nor" means "to run" (or "leap", for animals). See? Overthinking saved two franchises for me (though Skywalker still sounds like a jab at Star Trek now)

[01:34] Planet Vergessen, Hypatia system
Vergessen:  German "to forget".
Hypatia was an outstanding (female) 4th cent Western philosopher, astronomer, mathematician. Her political murder shocked the Roman empire, marking her as a martyr for philosophy.

[01:40] The Seven Domes, 13 years ago
Is Freecloud a planet? I somehow expected an asteroid or  cluster or station.

The Seven Domes may reference the Seven Hills of Rome (though many cities claim to be based on seven hills, including several I know well which seem to qualify without fudging) or maybe something in Revelation 17

I found the gore gratuitous and cringeworthy, and I LOVED real surgery (including eye surgery) even when it got real gore all over me. On rewatch, I saw that this whole episode was loaded (almost overloaded) with lighthearted moments, but that didn't ease the cringe much.

It would have been much worse if Icheb had been  a real character to me, vs. some one I only saw while flipping channels.

[03:43] I liked the little person being just a lovely, skilled human w/o the baggage often seen even in roles for the phenomenal Peter Dinklage

[03:49] Stardust City, Freecloud, Alpha Doradus System
Oh. Vergessen wasn't Freecloud!

Overeager? Did I seem overeager to you?

[05:02] "Have some Tranya"

[05:14] "They used some kind of molecular solvent..."
Sounds familiar, like the solvent-spitting agents. I've been thinking about those. It's a very defiant last resort to spit on your enemy but suppose it destroys every neuron of an activated Fractal Neuronic Clone who gains the upper hand? I'm not convinced it's sensible; the spit seems limited.

[05:40] "Who do you think did this to you, Bruce, hmmm?"
From the way Mr. Vup snarled, I initially thought maybe Bejayzl (or Vup) secretly had.

[08:10] "Freecloud keeps your secrets"
After just the "barest minimum" of private in-house datamining, I'm sure, just like Las Vegas, Facebook, or a (ex)girlfriend.

[09:24] "I admire the Rangers' goals, their courage, their tenacity, but you are taking the law into your own hands"
Awful preachy for a guy who was counting on Ranger law until a few hours ago! OTOH Seven expected he'd disapprove before he'd said a word. Likely, the Rangers had some notorious "incidents" that she privately regrets. She seems to envy Picard's vaunted idealism, though circumstances forced her to "more pragmatic" do-gooding.

[11:11] "She's notorious. Ninety-nine or Eleven or..."
Yes, if you're my age, Agent 99 WAS notorious. Hard for me to imagine, but I guess Eleven might be, these days.

Girl, if you're going to deny a Captain his cigar on his own bridge, you BETTER ask everyone's permission before you vape your snakeweed leaves.

"ex-Borg Fenris Ranger from the Delta quadrant" is not quite "Romulan Warrior Nuns", but it's good. Did the writers warm up by coining funny character thumbnails before writing the plot? Wineloving Tal Shiar Butlers. Ro-Mulan, the gender-defying Fighter Elf. El Capitán Holo-crew

Ro-Mulan.jpg

[11:32] "I somehow managed to forget that Picard used to be Borg too"
I liked this gossipy session, but I suspect this reminder was the whole point of this scene. It's almost comic relief from the gory beginning -- but too late, IMHO. Maybe lightening the mood imediately would've seemed insensitive, but waiting 1/4 episode was too much.

[12:55] Holo advertisements
Rios gets The Red [?!?] Bolian, who already scanned his power conversion efficiency. Picard disdainfully waves off the Grand Hotel's "Afternoon High Tea" (As well he should! A British parlour that doesn't distinguish Afternoon and High Tea? Why not Elevenses or second breakfast!) Raffi gets an offer to get "snake-bit" [snakeweed?] with her choice of poisons  and Elnor gets... nothing

Jurati gets an offer from The Freecloud Institute of Entertainment Robotics "now hiring kinetic feedback architects", which sounds like a call for skilled fighters to choreograph virtual fights. Maybe it is a scientific Institute job suited for her, but I wouldn't expect dismissing THAT to require "knocking its block off" (or maybe the crew was pranking her about that-- it would have really annoyed most candidate researchers until they figured it out). Either way, does Freecloud scan/know something about her that they shouldn't -- or we don't?

[14:27] Seven: [disturbed] "Bejayzl?" Raffi: "You know him?"
In my head:

"I met her as Bedazzle. Had a weapon that shot rhinestones into things--or you, if you weren't careful. [note: the Bedazzler was a real thing] Then she changed, went real dark, called herself Vajazzle [look it up, I don't even want to say it]. Now, as Bejayzl, she finds shiny bits on ex-Borg and rips them out."

[14:35] "She butchers ex-Borg for parts"
Hmmm, y'know who collects Borg parts-- or might want rare ones? The Romulans of The Artifact. Just sayin'.

[15:41] Flying in, we see rooftop neon for Feeley's Venom Garden and the Freecloud Grand Hotel.
Rios beams down near "Dabo Tables", "Mot's Hair Emporium" and "Quark Bar"  [not "Quark's"] "What is yours is ours" (mark this)

I later found this photo, which may interest some of you.

[16:07] "Are you serious, sending us down there looking like this?"
I'm still asking myself that. Okay, it was fun, but it was pointless nigh unto ludicrous (especially Picard's accent) They built this up to have such potential, but it ended up, at best, a "romp", especially on rewatching. Was this meant as more comic relief from the earlier gore?

Agnes thinks he's killing it. Of course she does.

Of course, Rios (Starfleet through and through) thinks "panache" means a foofy drink with TWO umbrellas.

[18:25] Bejayzl's "club" is supposed to be highly secure, so I was startled when two people beamed down behind Vup and Rios, flanking them.

[22:11} Vup doesn't smell Picard lying when he says ex-borg are forever defiled. Is it Raffi's "home cooking" or does part of Picard fear it's true, as he later says? I also like to think that Vup is hearing Picard through a Unversal Translator so his macabre accent doesn't register.

[25:13] "I'm clean"
Sounds like more than just snakeweed. Or maybe snakeweed paranoia is a lot worse than I thought, and she's only been clean since she boarded La Sirena--rather a shaky boast to base a reunion on, but that's how drug abusers often are. Certainly "I'm putting my life back together" started about 5 minutes ago, when she beamed down.

BTW, at the clinic, we heard "At Freecloud Family Planning, your child is our child". Let's hope it's not a subsidiary of Quark Bar.

[28:00]  BRUCE MADDOX'S REAL SECRET
Used_to_be.jpg

I don't know why I didn't see it earlier, but in this scene it just popped out at me.

[34:08] "But you do this, you put a bounty on all of us"
If Rios' logic is correct here (but WHO would put a bounty on them, with Bejazl dead?), then Seven's later secret plan made no sense. What's the difference between They helped me get in "but beamed up before I killed her" and "I used that to beam back a few minutes later and kill her"?

From the vantage of any who would avenge Bejayzl, they subterfuged Seven in. Even if they tried to stop her, they didn't. Revenge seekers tend toward "kill them until I feel better" vs. ethical analysis--and Rios noted that an avenger's ethical analysis wouldn't favor the crew.

Obviously Rios was playing Seven's sympathies, but HER plan made little sense. If she didn't want to lose Picard's respect (and thought he wouldn't guess), she'd be putting a bounty on them that they wouldn't even know to hide from, likely getting them killed, even if (e.g.) she plans to lead the enemy on a merry chase away from them (not that she knows where they might go next).

[34:54] "He's in bad shape. Exposure, dehydration. Maybe other things."
Sorry, but "SAY WHAT?" Have you been watching late 20st century cop shows?

Exposure? When? He's been in hiding since his lab was destroyed, and showed few signs of it when he reached Bejayzl. Dehydration? Okay, but any EMH will evaluate that -correctly- in seconds. "Maybe other things"? Like superficial lacerations and physical trauma? Hell yeah!

Picard knows that words have meanings. He wouldn't look a fool by spouting off like a fool, not when an EMH is at hand.

[36:12] "All of it?" [Picard's humanity] "No"
Not that it means anything, but it occurs to me that no indication of a parietal lobe lesion was ever suggested before he became Locutus.

This was a great bonding moment.

Also, since I didn't mention it earlier, Jeri Ryan is a hell of an actress. [I didn't know. I didn't watch Voyager. I only knew her as a 1960s Soviet agent in Dark Skies]

[36:40] [Seven beams into Bejayzl's enclave] "Hi" <zap, zap>
Though they ostentatiously showed Rios casually leaving the "transporter tunnel enhancer" on the transporter console, and Seven surreptitiously picking it up, it wasn't clear to me how that could allow Seven to beam BACK through Bejayzl's shield. It was said to maintain a tunnel through the shields, but if the enhancer and the transporter pad were on the same side of the shield, there would be no tunnel to maintain.

I found it funny that *certain* of her staff immediately beamed out. If I thought we'd come back to Freecloud, I'd consider that a possible clue about Bejayzl's business environment, such as staff vs. contractors, and her putative avengers (likely powerful business associates/factions).

Still, it'd take a HELL of a lot to make me interested in a two-fisted "blast your way out" march -- and the end of this scene didn't qualify

[38:50] When the Tal Shiar came for me, blew up my lab, I knew. Her embedded Mom AI wouldn't have activated her unless she were in grave danger"
Hullo! This is interesting! "Mom" is an embedded AI. Since I've designed/built embedded systems, I hate to assume too much, but since this is TV, I lean to the obvious (for exposition): "embedded" = "internal", though there are other options, even in current technology.

The act of "dialing Mom" may trigger an internal system, producing such effects as we saw in Asha BUT it's also possible that each/both has external elements, accessed by subspace calls. Per Laris, Soji ACTUALLY called Dahl, maybe vice versa. Why? Mom-to-Mom chats?

"Dialing Mom seems the usual protocol for contacting Mom (Dahj used it even after she was activated) but Mom activated Dahj without a phone call, strongly suggesting that it actually is a physically "inner Mom". The video glitch when Dahj confronted Mom about Picard would likely have been due to the peak computation load of a switch in plan.

Why did Maddox conclude that the "Tal Shiar" attack meant that Dahj had activated?

Easy answer: he guessed "they" might have enough clues to watch Dahj, or even try to capture her. Her activation would confirm their suspicions, leading them to find and/or attack Maddox's lab as an imminent threat. More complex possibilities... are beyond the scope of this note.

At first, I felt Anges seemed surprisingly alarmed when Bruce mentioned Soji. I asked myself "why", which led me to interpret each of Bruce's subsequent references to "her" as possibly indicating Agnes, not Dahj or Soji. On rewatch, I decided Anges was just eavesdropping intently.

[39:47] "The same reason I sent her sister to Earth: to find the Truth"
"To Earth" seems to have ended up in Agnes' lab, possibly without Agnes being told. What was Agnes' role in this? How much changed after Bruce left, or created the twins, or sent them on their missions?

Maddox says "The same ones who were hunting her," not "the Romulans". He admits "I don't know", so it may involve more than just the Federation.

[42:21] "Your contribution was essential"
Well, that's not enigmatic at all! A biological contribution? A theoretical breakthrough?  Locating a bit of Data/Lore?

Consider the timeline: assuming Bruce and Agnes were out of contact (yet Bruce assumes Anges knows what her contribution was) that contribution would have been 15 years ago, but it took 12 further years to produce the Ashas (they may not have been the first). It's hard to remember that Agnes is likely ~40 years old (officially), unless she out-Wesleyed Wesley Crusher. Bruce contacted her after the Academy, and they presumably worked together for some time before the attack on Mars.


[43:00] "What is the nature of your psychiatric emergency?"
then later "What is the nature of your medical emergency?"

Well, Doc, there's a guy under your treatment, dying on the table in your Sickbay. That's the medical emergency.
The fact that you're arguing with Agnes, instead of leaping to action is my "psychiatric" emergency.
And if you don't do something NOW, I'm going to give YOU a serious Holographic Emergency!

Admittedly, I've since read that in a novel (non-canon), Agnes had an MD as well as a PhD in Cybernetics. THEN this would make sense. An EMH can't override a treating MD.

[43:15] "I wish you knew what I know. I wish I didn't know what I know. I wish they hadn't shown me."
And with this, they end the episode with another brutal murder and dark choice [Bejayzl murdered Icheb. Seven just eased his terminal pain.]

I'm still very interested in this series, but I guess I can understand why some fans who gave it a fair chance are starting to drop out.

#2 Christopher

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Posted 05 March 2020 - 06:19 PM

View PostOrpheus, on 05 March 2020 - 05:20 PM, said:

Hypatia was an outstanding (female) 4th cent Western philosopher, astronomer, mathematician. Her political murder shocked the Roman empire, marking her as a martyr for philosophy.


I named a Starfleet ship after her in Department of Temporal Investigations: Forgotten History.



Quote

[42:21] "Your contribution was essential"
Well, that's not enigmatic at all! A biological contribution? A theoretical breakthrough?  Locating a bit of Data/Lore?

Consider the timeline: assuming Bruce and Agnes were out of contact (yet Bruce assumes Anges knows what her contribution was) that contribution would have been 15 years ago, but it took 12 further years to produce the Ashas (they may not have been the first). It's hard to remember that Agnes is likely ~40 years old (officially), unless she out-Wesleyed Wesley Crusher. Bruce contacted her after the Academy, and they presumably worked together for some time before the attack on Mars.

This is covered in the tie-in novel The Last Best Hope. I did find it weird that Jurati was already an M.D. 18 years before the show, making her significantly older than she looks. IIRC, she was the one who first proposed the idea of fractal cloning, though it was a while before Maddox hit upon a way to make it work.


Quote

Admittedly, I've since read that in a novel (non-canon), Agnes had an MD as well as a PhD in Cybernetics.

Non-canon but written with the participation of Picard co-creator (and my friend) Kirsten Beyer, who coordinates with the novelists to keep the books as consistent as possible with the shows. So it probably reflects the backstory developed for Jurati by the show's staff.


Quote

[Bejayzl murdered Icheb. Seven just eased his terminal pain.]

I didn't think that came across very well. Couldn't Seven have just gotten him to a decent doctor to heal him? I guess maybe he couldn't live without his Borg implants, but that wasn't established well enough.


Quote

I'm still very interested in this series, but I guess I can understand why some fans who gave it a fair chance are starting to drop out.

I think it's a good show, and I'm hearing a fair amount of praise for it alongside the kneejerk negativity and condemnation that predictably shows up online in response to any new Trek series.
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#3 RJDiogenes

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Posted 05 March 2020 - 09:06 PM

View PostOrpheus, on 05 March 2020 - 05:20 PM, said:

Hypatia was an outstanding (female) 4th cent Western philosopher, astronomer, mathematician. Her political murder shocked the Roman empire, marking her as a martyr for philosophy.  
And she taught at Alexandria-- not at the Library, though, despite what you may hear, since she missed that gig by a couple of centuries.

Quote

I found the gore gratuitous and cringeworthy,  
I didn't much care either way, but I agree that Star Trek isn't a Horror movie.

Quote

It would have been much worse if Icheb had been  a real character to me, vs. some one I only saw while flipping channels.  
I barely remember him, but I do hate the trope of killing off an established character for the sake of faux realism.

Quote

[09:24] "I admire the Rangers' goals, their courage, their tenacity, but you are taking the law into your own hands"
Awful preachy for a guy who was counting on Ranger law until a few hours ago! OTOH Seven expected he'd disapprove before he'd said a word. Likely, the Rangers had some notorious "incidents" that she privately regrets. She seems to envy Picard's vaunted idealism, though circumstances forced her to "more pragmatic" do-gooding.
But they share that desire to help people who have nobody else to help them.

Quote

Girl, if you're going to deny a Captain his cigar on his own bridge, you BETTER ask everyone's permission before you vape your snakeweed leaves.  
I am completely against any form of censorship, but I'd really prefer my Trek to be non-smoking.

Quote

called herself Vajazzle [look it up, I don't even want to say it]
I can guess.  :D

Quote

I'm still asking myself that. Okay, it was fun, but it was pointless nigh unto ludicrous (especially Picard's accent) They built this up to have such potential, but it ended up, at best, a "romp", especially on rewatching. Was this meant as more comic relief from the earlier gore?  
I'm thinking this was supposed to be one of those episodes where the crew beams down dressed like the locals and hilariously fails to fit in (like "A Piece of the Action").  But there was too much else going on, not least of which was Icheb's ophthalmological disaster, for it to completey work.

Quote

Of course, Rios (Starfleet through and through) thinks "panache" means a foofy drink with TWO umbrellas.
I think both Rios and Raffi are Riker Gone Rong.

Quote

I also like to think that Vup is hearing Picard through a Unversal Translator so his macabre accent doesn't register.  
How would he even know either way?  That could only be an in-joke for the crew.

Quote

BTW, at the clinic, we heard "At Freecloud Family Planning, your child is our child". Let's hope it's not a subsidiary of Quark Bar.  
I'm still wondering why Raffi's kid and his partner are getting their OB-GYN care at Freecloud.

Quote

Picard knows that words have meanings. He wouldn't look a fool by spouting off like a fool, not when an EMH is at hand.  
We don't really know how good Rios' holograms are.  He may not have upgraded after the free trial.

Quote

This was a great bonding moment.  
Definitely a high point.

Quote

Also, since I didn't mention it earlier, Jeri Ryan is a hell of an actress. [I didn't know. I didn't watch Voyager. I only knew her as a 1960s Soviet agent in Dark Skies]  
She was fantastic on Voyager.  Don't let the kiddies who fear "catsuits" scare you off.

Quote

The act of "dialing Mom" may trigger an internal system, producing such effects as we saw in Asha BUT it's also possible that each/both has external elements, accessed by subspace calls. Per Laris, Soji ACTUALLY called Dahl, maybe vice versa. Why? Mom-to-Mom chats?  
There's probably an internal component, but the main AI is elsewhere, so it can be more flexible and adaptive.

Quote

Maddox says "The same ones who were hunting her," not "the Romulans". He admits "I don't know", so it may involve more than just the Federation.  
Or something which is infiltrating both the Federation and the Romulans.

Quote

Well, Doc, there's a guy under your treatment, dying on the table in your Sickbay. That's the medical emergency.
The fact that you're arguing with Agnes, instead of leaping to action is my "psychiatric" emergency.
And if you don't do something NOW, I'm going to give YOU a serious Holographic Emergency!  
See?  He never upgraded.  :lol:

Quote

I'm still very interested in this series, but I guess I can understand why some fans who gave it a fair chance are starting to drop out.  
I teeter back and forth, but I'm still in.  I'd really like Star Trek to get a decent epilogue, because I don't think we'll ever get the real thing ever again.
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#4 Cardie

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Posted 06 March 2020 - 12:53 AM

Quote

Bruce contacted her after the Academy, and they presumably worked together for some time before the attack on Mars.



The prequel novel Last, Best Hope gives a precise timeline of their association. Without Agnes' insights, Maddox could not have made the twins.
Nothing succeeds like excess.

#5 Cardie

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Posted 06 March 2020 - 12:59 AM

Quote

I did find it weird that Jurati was already an M.D. 18 years before the show, making her significantly older than she looks.

The actress is 35, so one could stretch it to her being forty and a prodigy.
Nothing succeeds like excess.

#6 Youkai

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Posted 06 March 2020 - 02:47 AM

Quote

[16:07] "Are you serious, sending us down there looking like this?"
I'm still asking myself that. Okay, it was fun, but it was pointless nigh unto ludicrous (especially Picard's accent) They built this up to have such potential, but it ended up, at best, a "romp", especially on rewatching. Was this meant as more comic relief from the earlier gore?

It was an away mission. You can't call it Trek without without having at least one wacky away mission.

I'm still waiting for a "Captain's Log" type moment. Maybe at the end of the final episode.

#7 Sci-Fi Girl

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Posted 06 March 2020 - 08:23 AM

View PostRJDiogenes, on 05 March 2020 - 09:06 PM, said:

View PostOrpheus, on 05 March 2020 - 05:20 PM, said:

BTW, at the clinic, we heard "At Freecloud Family Planning, your child is our child". Let's hope it's not a subsidiary of Quark Bar.  
I'm still wondering why Raffi's kid and his partner are getting their OB-GYN care at Freecloud.

I assumed it was the planet where they live and work.  She knew to look for him there as soon as she saw the name of the planet, and a chance to hitch a ride there.  

Which suggests there may be a few respectable career options there, though I have no idea what those might be.  We only saw the tourism / entertainment region, who knows what goes on elsewhere on the planet?

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Edited by Sci-Fi Girl, 06 March 2020 - 08:24 AM.

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#8 Orpheus

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Posted 06 March 2020 - 03:23 PM

Gabriel or his wife could be a private banker -- or anything else, really. I only mention private banks because the show did, yet that was never tied into anything as the other mentioned Freecloud 'industries' were.

With Raffi's deep connections in the Federation, the Romulan Rebirth movement in the Beta quadrant, and Gabriel's likely distaste for anything smacking of Major Powers (and the games they play), an independent Freecloud outside both spheres might seem like a good place for a Human-Romulan couple to settle, especially with a child on the way.

Gabriel certainly seemed to hope it would help hide him from Raffi, probably thinking that she wouldn't try too hard anyway. "So, what, you put a tracker in me -- or just hunt me down?"

#9 RJDiogenes

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Posted 06 March 2020 - 07:58 PM

View PostSci-Fi Girl, on 06 March 2020 - 08:23 AM, said:

I assumed it was the planet where they live and work.  She knew to look for him there as soon as she saw the name of the planet, and a chance to hitch a ride there.  

Which suggests there may be a few respectable career options there, though I have no idea what those might be.  We only saw the tourism / entertainment region, who knows what goes on elsewhere on the planet?  
I suppose so.  But they kind of went out of their way to characterize it as a Really Bad Place In Lawless Space. Which kind of rhymes.

View PostOrpheus, on 06 March 2020 - 03:23 PM, said:

With Raffi's deep connections in the Federation, the Romulan Rebirth movement in the Beta quadrant, and Gabriel's likely distaste for anything smacking of Major Powers (and the games they play), an independent Freecloud outside both spheres might seem like a good place for a Human-Romulan couple to settle, especially with a child on the way.  
That's a good point. I may have made too many assumptions about them, and that they were just there for the benefit of a Raffi character moment.  I'll bet they're Fenris Rangers.
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#10 Cybersnark

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Posted 07 March 2020 - 10:27 AM

View PostOrpheus, on 05 March 2020 - 05:20 PM, said:

"Quark Bar"  [not "Quark's"] "What is yours is ours"

The most amusingly on-brand thing about this is that the "k" in "Quark" is noticeably smaller than the other letters, suggesting that Quark bought a pre-existing restaurant and then tried to save latinum by half-assing the sign change.
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