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STAR TREK: PICARD - S1, E8: "Broken Pieces"...


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#1 FarscapeOne

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Posted 12 March 2020 - 09:57 AM

Picard realizes how far some will go to protect secrets that go back generations when truths about the attack on Mars are revealed; Narissa orders her guards to capture Elnor, setting off a chain reaction on the Borg cube.

#2 Youkai

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Posted 12 March 2020 - 11:02 AM

I knew the EEH would have a Scottish accent!! :D

And I think we know which "active reserve" officer will be leading that squadron. You don't mention something like that unless you intend to bring it up again later on.

Someone asked a question as to why Oh would need sunglasses if Vulcans have an inner eyelid. I guess we now know why.

Would have liked to see Soji actually eat that ice cream and fries. I do the same myself sometimes, but it's with fries and a chocolate Frosty from Wendy's instead.

Edited by Youkai, 12 March 2020 - 11:05 AM.


#3 Christopher

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Posted 12 March 2020 - 11:05 AM

A lot of answers here, a lot of fun bits, but also a fair amount of excess and implausibility.

So I was wrong, mercifully, about Oh being from the future. Rather, she and the Zhat Vash are fanatics driven by fear that a cataclysm in the ancient past is doomed to recur any time sentient AI reaches a certain threshold. Although it might not be the synths they fear; I got the impression that they're afraid of something bigger that will come to destroy a synth-creating civilization because of its fear of cataclysm. I know I've seen a similar concept in prose SF somewhere -- maybe Alastair Reynolds? Anyway, we got a nice Picard speech out of it toward the end, in what's surely the most Trekkian -- and most Picardian -- moments in the series so far. Not just hearing him philosophize about choosing hope over fear, but seeing him finally bond with Rios and be supportive rather than being wrapped up in his own worries is a sign of growth.

Raffi was also great here, with her motherly support for Rios, and her interplay with the holograms was fantastic. Although I keep finding it odd that they're talking about the dangers of the creation of artificial intelligence and ignoring that they're on a ship full of holographic AIs. But maybe the presumption is that the holos aren't actually sentient.

The plot point I find most deeply implausible is that the pilot Raffi hired for Picard's mission just coincidentally happens to be directly connected to that mission through the defining tragedy that got him where he is today. What are the odds? Unless Raffi already suspected a connection and arranged this, but she didn't seem to have any prior idea of it.

It's also implausible and melodramatic that there's some revelation so horrific that it drives people mad and makes them kill themselves. I mean, even if we don't have the whole story yet, presumably we'll learn it all eventually, and if we can watch the show without going insane, surely the Romulans shouldn't be so overcome by it. It's kind of over the top. And the idea that it's enough to shut down a Borg cube? Absurd. Well, maybe there's something more to it, something built into the ancient alien message that invades minds and screws them up somehow. Maybe it's just the overwhelming fear Picard talked about.

Anyway, we now have a time frame for the Artifact's collapse, because Ramdha saw the message 14 years ago, i.e. shortly before the attack on Mars, and wasn't assimilated until afterward. So that confirms that the Borg Collective is still active post-"Endgame," something that I thought was always clear, though apparently many people have assumed that "Endgame" wiped them out entirely.

Seven was back, but so much else was going on that her plot got short shrift. A situation so dire that it forced her to go against everything she believed in and form a new collective, with uncertainty about whether she could return, should be a huge, huge deal, but it was handled in a cursory way and resolved far too easily. Also, being jettisoned into space shouldn't have killed those drones, which I gather were still full Borg and not yet processed to remove their implants. We saw in First Contact that drones can survive in vacuum.
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#4 Youkai

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Posted 12 March 2020 - 11:19 AM

View PostChristopher, on 12 March 2020 - 11:05 AM, said:


It's also implausible and melodramatic that there's some revelation so horrific that it drives people mad and makes them kill themselves. I mean, even if we don't have the whole story yet, presumably we'll learn it all eventually, and if we can watch the show without going insane, surely the Romulans shouldn't be so overcome by it. It's kind of over the top. And the idea that it's enough to shut down a Borg cube? Absurd. Well, maybe there's something more to it, something built into the ancient alien message that invades minds and screws them up somehow. Maybe it's just the overwhelming fear Picard talked about.


Is it, though? When Hugh was reassimilated, it was his experiences on the Enterprise that messed up the Borg that were exposed to him. I could see the collective shutting down an adjunct of themselves, partially for trying to prevent another Hugh situation, but also because they didn't want the crazy and the traumatic thoughts spreading too far.

#5 Christopher

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Posted 12 March 2020 - 11:47 AM

View PostYoukai, on 12 March 2020 - 11:19 AM, said:

Is it, though? When Hugh was reassimilated, it was his experiences on the Enterprise that messed up the Borg that were exposed to him. I could see the collective shutting down an adjunct of themselves, partially for trying to prevent another Hugh situation, but also because they didn't want the crazy and the traumatic thoughts spreading too far.

Maybe... but you'd think they'd have installed safeguards on that since then.

Really, the whole "I, Borg"/"Descent" premise is hard to reconcile with the First Contact/Voyager retcon that most or all Borg drones are assimilated. At the time those TNG episodes were made, it was assumed that most drones were incubated from birth, as we saw in "Q Who." Assimilation was spoken of, but in the context of entire civilizations, not necessarily individuals. Hugh had never had an identity as an individual; he was a blank slate, which was why he so readily absorbed the idea of individuality from Geordi and Picard. And the assumption was that the concept of individual identity was so new to the Borg that it was enough to infect Hugh's whole cube and set them free. But that doesn't mesh with the FC/VGR assumption that all drones had previous identities as individuals before they were assimilated.
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#6 Youkai

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Posted 12 March 2020 - 11:59 AM

View PostChristopher, on 12 March 2020 - 11:47 AM, said:


Maybe... but you'd think they'd have installed safeguards on that since then.


Perhaps cutting off that cube was the safeguard.

But yeah, I agree that the whole Borg thing is inconsistent, mainly for practical reasons (different writing staff adding to the lore, the passage of time between the production of series/movies, etc.).

Was it ever established that all Borg everywhere communicate instantly across space regardless of distance? If not, perhaps there's a difference between alpha and delta quadrant Borg in how they 'evolved' when it comes to the concept of individuality over time. Yeah, I'm stretching. I'm trying not to think too hard about this stuff and to just enjoy the ride.

#7 Christopher

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Posted 12 March 2020 - 01:03 PM

View PostYoukai, on 12 March 2020 - 11:59 AM, said:

Was it ever established that all Borg everywhere communicate instantly across space regardless of distance?

Pretty sure it was, yeah.


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If not, perhaps there's a difference between alpha and delta quadrant Borg in how they 'evolved' when it comes to the concept of individuality over time.

Except Hugh's cube was from the Delta Quadrant, though probably a much nearer part of it than the Borg encountered by Voyager. Remember, the planet in "Descent" was at the other end of a transwarp conduit.


Hey, speaking of which, I thought Voyager destroying the Borg's transwarp hub in "Endgame" meant they wouldn't be able to use transwarp to reach the Federation anymore. Yet now we learn there's still a functional Borg transwarp conduit near Federation/Romulan space. Maybe the destruction of the hub didn't wipe out such conduits but just severed the link between them and the DQ ones?
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#8 FarscapeOne

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Posted 12 March 2020 - 02:34 PM

The cube that Hugh was on in "I, Borg" was not the same as the ship from "Descent".  Otherwise, the Enterprise would have identified it as soon as they arrived at Ohniaka 3.

It's likely that cube was so derelict and useless due to all of them being individuals that it was left somewhere else when the new "Descent" ship was found or commandeered.

And I don't think that conduit in "Descent" went to the Delta Quadrant... they traveled only 65 light years.  At best, they got to the Beta Quadrant.

Regarding the transwsrp conduit... Voyager didn't destroy the whole network, just a part of it.  One of 6, I think.  It collapsed a part that can access a lot of Federation space, most likely.  (Which I never thought it was near it to be a threat, otherwise the Borg could have easily sent multiple cubes to Earth.)  There may be a few exits here and there in the Alpha and Beta Quadrants left, though.

Think of it like a highway, and some of the exits were cutoff due to a flood or something.  It seems very similar to the underspace the Vaadwaur mapped out.

#9 Christopher

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Posted 12 March 2020 - 03:13 PM

View PostFarscapeOne, on 12 March 2020 - 02:34 PM, said:

The cube that Hugh was on in "I, Borg" was not the same as the ship from "Descent".  Otherwise, the Enterprise would have identified it as soon as they arrived at Ohniaka 3.

Hugh wasn't on a cube at all in "I, Borg." He was found in the wreckage of a smaller scout-type ship. When we speak of "Hugh's cube," we mean the cube he was taken to after his retrieval by the Collective, the one that was infected by his individuality.

In fact, in "Descent," it was unclear whether the individuality "virus" had infected just one cube or the entire Collective. At the time, there were people who interpreted the episode to mean that the entire Collective had ceased to exist and become like Lore's directionless cultists. It wasn't until First Contact that it was established that the Borg still existed, at which point the presumption became that Hugh had only infected a single cube which had then been cut off to protect the rest of the Collective.


View PostFarscapeOne, on 12 March 2020 - 02:34 PM, said:

Regarding the transwsrp conduit... Voyager didn't destroy the whole network, just a part of it.

Yes, I'm fully aware of that. I'm usually the one explaining that to others. But it was the part that gave them access to Federation space, which could mean either that all conduits on this side of the hub were wiped out or that they were just cut off from the rest. This episode gives evidence for the latter interpretation.
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#10 Cardie

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Posted 12 March 2020 - 07:00 PM

Picard gives us nice character moments but, in direct contrast to the contrived twists of Discovery, has so far revealed nothing it didn't strongly imply from the beginning. Thus, Bruce Mattox did indeed create Soji and her siblings, the Zhat Vash did attack Mars, their fear of synths trumping the likely loss of Federation aid in evacuating their system. I guess the origins of the warning vision and its eight engineered planets may provide for some surprises about the dead alien race that constructed it, but otherwise the show is not much as a narrative.

I did love Picard and Soji's discussion of the Admiral's love for and by Data. When Data cannot return the dying Lal's declaration of love because he believes himself incapable of that emotion, the audience can plainly see that he adores her. So, when Picard analyzes Data's feelings for him similarly. and Soji tosses off casually, "He loved you," I was verklempt.
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#11 Christopher

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Posted 12 March 2020 - 07:10 PM

View PostCardie, on 12 March 2020 - 07:00 PM, said:

I did love Picard and Soji's discussion of the Admiral's love for and by Data. When Data cannot return the dying Lal's declaration of love because he believes himself incapable of that emotion, the audience can plainly see that he adores her. So, when Picard analyzes Data's feelings for him similarly. and Soji tosses off casually, "He loved you," I was verklempt.

Yeah, that was awesome. The idea that Data "didn't have emotion" just because he didn't express it in a neurotypical human way was always rubbish, and quite ableist in retrospect.

When Picard was talking to Soji about accepting the reality of a fictitious past, I was expecting him to tell her about his time as Kamin in "The Inner Light."


Meanwhile, I'm unsure about the idea of a octonary star system whose existence is unknown to the Federation. The thing about stars is, they're visible from a great distance. That's basically their whole deal. They're in plain sight to anyone with a good enough telescope. So I was skeptical that the system would be unknown. But on reflection, there are a lot of star sytems whose arity (the number of stars they contain, e.g. binary, ternary, etc.) is uncertain because it's hard to differentiate the light of the components from one another at a distance. It's quite possible, especially if the system is engineered and the stars' spectra are sufficiently similar, that Federation astronomers haven't been able to resolve all the pairs in the system, so they might thing it's only got four or six components. Any model suggesting it has eight stars might be met with skepticism because it's so unlikely. (And it looks like they actually did their homework -- the biggest multiple star systems known to exist have seven components each, AR Cassiopeiae and Nu Scorpii.)
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#12 RJDiogenes

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Posted 12 March 2020 - 07:47 PM

Okay, we got some interesting revelations in this episode.  I'm not entirely sure I'm following everything, but it seems like once upon a time there was a civilization that was destroyed by some sort of hyperintelligence who polices the galaxy looking for societies who develop AI and obliterates them for unknown reasons. Some Romulans came upon the ruins of this civilization and had fear and paranoia and violent CGI implanted in their noggins by an alien mind implanter.  They then became the Jack Flash, a cult dedicated to the eradication of AI, not necessarily because they dislike AI, although the Rommie Twins sure seem to, but because they want the policing hyperintelligence to not come and obliterate them. Am I close?  Anyway, it's an interesting SF idea on a grand scale, and it kind of reminds me of the Monolith builders in Clarke's Odyssey series-- who, by the way, were able to make stars go supernova when they wanted to obliterate someone.

Aside from that, this episode had lots of great character stuff going on. Rios finally got his turn in the spotlight and we found out the whole story behind that tragedy he alluded to a while back.  And a dark story it was, involving an encounter with yet another version of Soji and an execution ordered by Commodore Oh, leading to his ultimate suicide-- for which Rios carries some guilt, because he gave him a hard time.  This ties in to the AI plotline, but raises more questions. How did Oh recognize the other Soji?  Who was with the other Soji?  Was he an AI, too?  Why did he have a Hippie name?  Did Maddox build him as well as the Soji series?  Or did Maddox find a planet of AIs who took him in and custom built androids for him?  Does this android planet have any connection to other android-related planets that we've seen, like Mudd's planet or Roger Korby's planet?

We also got some great scenes featuring Rios' holographic avatars. Since the beginning, this multiple-hologram idea has been one of my favorite elements of the show, one of the things that really felt the most Trekkish, so I loved them getting the spotlight. Especially when they were all in the same room and Raffi was trying to ply them for information.

And it looks like Soji has been activated by events in this episode and really wants to go home, and became the latest in a long line of androids to commandeer a starship and take it to-- well, nowhere, because Rios outsmarted her with his lullaby lockout.  We've now gotten glimpses into what made both Raffi and Rios formidable Starfleet officers before they became broken, and why they deserve to be on Picard's crew.

Oh, yeah, Picard is a part of this show, too, and he was in top form here. Stern and dismayed with an outed Agnes, fatherly and persuasive with Soji (who told him that Data loved him), collegial with his fellow officer Rios, assertive yet open minded with Raffi-- and he convinced Clancy to send the fleet, even if she did tell him to shut the f*ck up again.  :lol:  And we got a couple of those classic Picard speeches about optimism and fighting back against fear that we love him for.  In particular, his acknowledgement that the Federation did fail its own values by falling into Oh's trap of fear-mongering is the message for the current generation that this show needs to send to validate this Dark Federation storyline.

And meanwhile, back on the cube, Seven came to the rescue and got a big hug from Elfwich.  He's such a lovable little berserker.  But my favorite moment, of course, was Seven becoming the Borg Queen for a minute. I once had an idea for a mixed-cast grand finale for 24th century Trek that involved Seven assimilating the Queen and taking over as a benign leader, ultimately disbanding the Collective. This wasn't quite that yet, but it kind of plants the seed of that possibility.

All in all, this episode was packed with great character moments and interesting plot developments and Trekkish themes-- I'd say it's easily the best episode of the series yet.
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#13 FarscapeOne

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Posted 13 March 2020 - 06:53 AM

View PostChristopher, on 12 March 2020 - 03:13 PM, said:

View PostFarscapeOne, on 12 March 2020 - 02:34 PM, said:

The cube that Hugh was on in "I, Borg" was not the same as the ship from "Descent".  Otherwise, the Enterprise would have identified it as soon as they arrived at Ohniaka 3.

Hugh wasn't on a cube at all in "I, Borg." He was found in the wreckage of a smaller scout-type ship. When we speak of "Hugh's cube," we mean the cube he was taken to after his retrieval by the Collective, the one that was infected by his individuality.

In fact, in "Descent," it was unclear whether the individuality "virus" had infected just one cube or the entire Collective. At the time, there were people who interpreted the episode to mean that the entire Collective had ceased to exist and become like Lore's directionless cultists. It wasn't until First Contact that it was established that the Borg still existed, at which point the presumption became that Hugh had only infected a single cube which had then been cut off to protect the rest of the Collective.


View PostFarscapeOne, on 12 March 2020 - 02:34 PM, said:

Regarding the transwsrp conduit... Voyager didn't destroy the whole network, just a part of it.

Yes, I'm fully aware of that. I'm usually the one explaining that to others. But it was the part that gave them access to Federation space, which could mean either that all conduits on this side of the hub were wiped out or that they were just cut off from the rest. This episode gives evidence for the latter interpretation.

The cube Hugh ends up on at the end is exactly what I was referring to.  I know he crashed on the planet on a much smaller ship.

The Enterprise was able to keep a distance while monitoring Geordi and Hugh on the surface, and that their sensors saw a Borg ship approaching it.  It clearly was NOT the same vessel we see in "Descent" because they did not recognize it. Which is why I said in my post above the cube Hugh was on was likely destroyed or discarded in favor of that new ship.

#14 Nick

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Posted 13 March 2020 - 08:43 AM

View PostChristopher, on 12 March 2020 - 11:05 AM, said:

The plot point I find most deeply implausible is that the pilot Raffi hired for Picard's mission just coincidentally happens to be directly connected to that mission through the defining tragedy that got him where he is today. What are the odds? Unless Raffi already suspected a connection and arranged this, but she didn't seem to have any prior idea of it.


That was hard for me to swallow at first, but I think it's less of a coincidence than it appears at first glance.  I started thinking about how Rios & Raffi might have become friends in the first place.  He witnessed and participated in a major black ops coverup and likely sought answers for why his Captain was ordered to commit murder under duress and she's the 24th century version of a 9/11 truther that just happens to be correct.  It's plausible that their orbits would've intersected in the conspiracy-theorist scene.

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It's also implausible and melodramatic that there's some revelation so horrific that it drives people mad and makes them kill themselves. I mean, even if we don't have the whole story yet, presumably we'll learn it all eventually, and if we can watch the show without going insane, surely the Romulans shouldn't be so overcome by it. It's kind of over the top. And the idea that it's enough to shut down a Borg cube? Absurd. Well, maybe there's something more to it, something built into the ancient alien message that invades minds and screws them up somehow. Maybe it's just the overwhelming fear Picard talked about.

I feel like a "mind-breaking" secret cannot exist in a TV show.  Because you have to tell the audience about it and it's not going to break their minds, so it's doomed to be a letdown.  I vastly prefer (and choose to believe until I hear otherwise) that the Admonition isn't just a PSA video about Judgement Day but is something of a psychic pathogen that is designed to forcibly hard-wire those who experience it to destroy all synthetic life and the process used causes a high rate of literal brain damage leading to all the insanity.

If that's the case, it's much easier to see why that's a deadly pathogen to the Borg and they'd have to pull the plug on a cube to keep it from spreading.

Quote

Anyway, we now have a time frame for the Artifact's collapse, because Ramdha saw the message 14 years ago, i.e. shortly before the attack on Mars, and wasn't assimilated until afterward. So that confirms that the Borg Collective is still active post-"Endgame," something that I thought was always clear, though apparently many people have assumed that "Endgame" wiped them out entirely.

Like I said in the other thread, I never thought Endgame wiped them out, but I appreciated the ambiguity in not knowing what state they were in.  Fortunately, the reveal here doesn't tell us *much* about what's going on with the Borg in the Delta Quadrant post-Voyager, and I definitely feel like that's better left for a different story.

Quote

Seven was back, but so much else was going on that her plot got short shrift. A situation so dire that it forced her to go against everything she believed in and form a new collective, with uncertainty about whether she could return, should be a huge, huge deal, but it was handled in a cursory way and resolved far too easily.

I thought it was a bit anti-climactic, but I'm waiting until we've seen the finale.  She said something to the effect of "Annika has more work to do" before disconnecting abruptly.  I suspect that Starfleet squadron coming to aid Picard isn't going to be friendly and he's going to activate the pager to get help from Seven who's gonna show up in that cube.

Quote

Also, being jettisoned into space shouldn't have killed those drones, which I gather were still full Borg and not yet processed to remove their implants. We saw in First Contact that drones can survive in vacuum.

We saw drones assigned a task operating in vacuum.  I can survive a blizzard with some prep, but not if you throw me directly out of bed into one.  A large number might survive if Seven can scoop them back up in time.  Maybe that's part of the work Annika needs to do.

#15 Christopher

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Posted 13 March 2020 - 09:22 AM

View PostFarscapeOne, on 13 March 2020 - 06:53 AM, said:

It clearly was NOT the same vessel we see in "Descent" because they did not recognize it.

Well, of course not. Nobody ever said it was. That vessel wasn't a cube at all. It wasn't a standard Borg design, because it was created by the drones who were no longer in the Collective.

I'm not talking about stuff that happened on camera, I'm talking about stuff between episodes. "I, Borg" ended with the Collective taking Hugh back. "Descent" began with an attack by mysteriously different Borg who were individuals and even had a new kind of ship. Exploring the mystery revealed that in the interim, Hugh's individuality had infected the Borg and dissolved their group mind, leaving them vulnerable to Lore's cult-leader manipulation and turning them into what they were now.

As I said already, at the time it was unclear just how many Borg had been affected, and many interpreted it to mean the entire Collective had ceased to exist. It wasn't until First Contact that we learned otherwise. Therefore, we had to retroactively conclude that the individuality "infection" had only affected that specific cube Hugh had been on, or maybe a finite number of cubes, before the rest of the Collective quarantined itself from the spreading infection. (Social distancing can't be easy for a hive species.)
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#16 RJDiogenes

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Posted 13 March 2020 - 06:37 PM

View PostNick, on 13 March 2020 - 08:43 AM, said:

I vastly prefer (and choose to believe until I hear otherwise) that the Admonition isn't just a PSA video about Judgement Day but is something of a psychic pathogen that is designed to forcibly hard-wire those who experience it to destroy all synthetic life and the process used causes a high rate of literal brain damage leading to all the insanity.  
Agnes as much as said so:   "She put poison in my brain," or words to that effect.  Of course, that can be taken metaphorically, but in this case I think it makes much more sense to take it literally.
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#17 Orpheus

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Posted 15 March 2020 - 06:32 PM

I haven't had much time to post, and I've been worried the next episode may air before I can say this: PLANTS.

If I'm right, you'll know what I meant soon enough.

#18 Christopher

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Posted 15 March 2020 - 07:07 PM

View PostOrpheus, on 15 March 2020 - 06:32 PM, said:

I haven't had much time to post, and I've been worried the next episode may air before I can say this: PLANTS.

If I'm right, you'll know what I meant soon enough.

Are... you expecting the Kzinti reference to be followed by the reappearance of the Phylosians? With Ethan Peck as Giant Spock Clone #2?
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#19 RJDiogenes

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Posted 15 March 2020 - 07:40 PM

View PostOrpheus, on 15 March 2020 - 06:32 PM, said:

I haven't had much time to post, and I've been worried the next episode may air before I can say this: PLANTS.

If I'm right, you'll know what I meant soon enough.  
Well, Agnes was a plant.  :D

If you mean that the anti-Synth Hyperintelligence is a race of plants, then we just need to introduce them to Stanley Weinbaum.
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#20 QueenTiye

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Posted 16 March 2020 - 12:17 PM

View PostChristopher, on 12 March 2020 - 11:05 AM, said:

It's also implausible and melodramatic that there's some revelation so horrific that it drives people mad and makes them kill themselves. I mean, even if we don't have the whole story yet, presumably we'll learn it all eventually, and if we can watch the show without going insane, surely the Romulans shouldn't be so overcome by it.

Shutting down the Borg Cube seems unlikely, but given what we saw, I suspect that the reaction is based on overload of these ideas being injected into the brain. We have distancing mechanisms that allow us to distinguish ourselves from yesterday's events, and sleeping and dreaming help us process the day's memories. But what we saw was days, maybe even years of cataclysm, possibly remembered from people living it being directly injected into people's brains with no filter. Its highly irresponsible- but a form of hazing that guarantees the survivors have what it takes to do anything to effectuate the goal.

Am I right that only women are recruited for this secret order? Where does Narek come in, then?

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