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  1. Sometimes we talk about a show being plot-driven or character-driven, but this episode was an example of a different thing where the events don't really make sense for the plot or the characters, but they make sense for setting up a melodramatic moment for the audience... which then rings hollow because it doesn't make sense for the plot or characters. I laughed when Picard insisted that he had to talk to Soji on an open channel so that everyone could hear him movingly talk her into cancelling the kraken attack, and then when Soji beamed Picard down to the planet not because she had a way to help him, but because it was more dramatic if he died surrounded by all of the other characters. I didn't laugh when Data showed up, but I was kind of confused by it because, if you're going to write a scenario where Data's consciousness still exists somewhere in the midst of all this, why wouldn't you find a way for him to participate in the story instead of just showing up at the end to bum everyone out? (Honestly, I didn't think Picard would die, but I thought there was a chance Patrick Stewart would bounce after the first season and Picard's consciousness would be in a different body, played by a new actor, so it felt like an extra, EXTRA cop-out that he made it though the whole thing unscathed, but whatever).
  2. LMAO that was so dumb. I can't even pick my favourite part. When the mysterious hellish synth intelligence turned out to be a space kraken that got sucked back into its portal? When Picard was saved from death and went, "Amaze. Let's unplug Data"? When Elnor, the neediest Romulan, just walked up to Raffi and cried? I think it actually has to be the scene where Rios and Seven were bonding because they'd both done something they regretted, and Seven was like, "I killed someone just because I hated them again," and Rios was like, "Okay, cool. Mine is that I got attached to an authority figure." On the one hand, I'm happy for the fifteen-year-old version of me would would have really liked to have a gay or bi character on my favorite TV show. On the other hand, it's been 20 years and the best they can give me is awkwardly holding someone's hand for five seconds. I agree with this. I had literally just thought, "Wow, I think I like Seven with Rios, now," when we randomly got that panning shot letting us know who all the couples were. This is a fair point, on both counts. This is a nitpick in a sea of much more glaring problems with their plan, but was it really awesome to bring the most garbage person Soji's ever met and let him plead with her to spare organic life? I know there's an excuse where they used him to get past the guards, but... I do think it would have been a much more interesting choice, dramatically, if she had been faced with a decision that revolved around saving the most garbage person she'd ever met rather than people who were trying to help her.
  3. Wow. I feel affection for Picard as a character, but Raffi needs a better friend. He seriously just told her he was dying at the exact same time as he told a bunch of strangers he just met. That's cold. I laughed a little bit when Gold Soji explained that the admonition isn't "Synthetic life will destroy the organics (scary)" but rather, if you know how to listen to it, "Synthetic life will destroy the organics (happy)." At the same time, I did like that moment (heavy-handed as it was) where Picard was like, "I will save u, androids, run into my arms and give me control of the situation!" and they were all like, "HOW ABOUT NO." The story was kind of convoluted, but it was exciting and it had a point of view that I still enjoyed.
  4. I just listened to the audiobook and I'm not sure what to think. I enjoyed it (and I particularly enjoyed listening to Ann Dowd read for Lydia), but I feel like it's almost a fanfic about how the breakout character from the TV show was secretly a really good person who we can root for, and also wouldn't it be funny if a normal teen sassed back everyone in Gilead. One of my complaints from the TV show is that I don't get what Lydia's deal is, and, in this book -- partly because I'm not sure how much I'm supposed to consider the TV show canon -- I still don't get what Lydia's deal is. I can draw a line that connects pre-Gilead Lydia to Lydia at the end of this book, but the line doesn't naturally pass through the stuff she's done on TV. I also thought it was interesting that the epilogue mirrored the first book, and had some dude give a lecture about the story we just read that totally missed the point.
  5. I didn't dislike this, but I felt like it was cramming a lot of interesting ideas into a single episode without stopping to explore any of them fully. Like Seven's extremely weighty choice to make a new borg collective and her worry that she wouldn't want to let them disconnect after. Or Agnes deciding she doesn't want to destroy the synths anymore because Soji's such a miracle. I did enjoy that Raffi being a weird, outcast conspiracy nut was finally useful for everyone, because she put together the whole improbable story of how the Romulans were behind everything, but I wish that even that had had more room to breathe. I have the opposite reaction. I kind of like that they're not explaining it in detail, because it lets my imagination fill in something super scary -- probably worse than whatever they'd actually depict. When they were talking cryptically about how "someone really bad shows up" if you allow AI to evolve too much, I got a little creeped out. I also just kind of like the idea of being able to take it as written that whatever this sacred, terrifying memory is, it's really as bad as it sounds, and it makes sense that the villains are freaked out about it (even if I'm pretty sure their vision has the same stock footage of a fox decomposing as 20 other shows). I think, if they tell us super specifically what it is, it opens the door for us to decide everyone's being weird and it's not that bad.
  6. LMAO at Jughead sitting in the bunker for weeks (months?) coming up with literary allusions he can use when he traps all of his hateful writing school chums and makes them listen to him explain his own murder. Also LMAO at how bored and annoyed Donna looked listening to him. The actor playing her was giving a really big performance, but I loved it. I was expecting/hoping that maybe at the end of their big explanation they would suddenly realize they made a terrible mistake and Charles was working against them all along, and then that twist would take us into the end of the season, but oh well. Charles is very patient about his revenge. Something I did not like: Riverdale's bizarro sense of justice where, if someone's a really bad person, that means you can assault them and it's NBD. I felt like I was supposed to laugh at Brett getting beat up by gang members thanks to a corrupt FBI agent, but that's horrible. Also, Riverdale's bizarro sense of justice where the only thing that matters is whether your actions hurt one of the main characters. I love how matter-of-fact she was about it. Like, "That's what secret girlfriends do." I think I would enjoy a version of this show where everyone just owned being completely evil and there was no pretense that they were ever going to do the right thing. I was uncomfortable with these two things in relation to each other. Because, the show's kind of like, "What did Donna really do? She attempted to murder Jughead, and that's not cool, but she can live in peace as long as she gives up the book contract... Oh, also I guess she killed Jonathan but who cares?" This fits into a larger pattern where Riverdale has a bad track record with black characters -- it treats them like they're aliens or something and there's no possible way to let them participate in the story except by standing in the back of a group shot while a white character does something, and then it just gets rid of them. It's creepy.
  7. I looked it up to be sure, and Troi's dead sister was named Kestra, too, which is a nice detail. I liked this one, and don't have much to say about it. But the sequence I particularly enjoyed was the conversation between Soji and Troi, and then Picard and Troi, where Soji said that Troi being super nice to her made her seem less trustworthy rather than more, and then Troi told Picard that other people have had different experiences than he has, and their feelings can be just as valid. I thought it captured what the show's trying to do (or what I think it's trying to do), and I got unexpectedly emotional about it, remembering times in my own life when someone dismissed what I was saying and I didn't have someone like Troi to back me up. I'm so on the fence about this show.
  8. Glad to see Alice is still the worst journalist. Alternative title for her documentary: You know who's still alive? Kevin! ft. Reggie, Pop Tate, and not Jonathan, I guess. I think my favourite part of the documentary was actually when she started interviewing Veronica about whether she thought Archie was going to cheat on her with Betty. Like, imagine if your best friend's mom was holding a camcorder and saying this to you. If they jump forward in time, like some people are speculating, then I could see them mixing up all the pairings to give themselves a fresh start -- even if the ships ultimately come back to this arrangement in the end. I loved how, after FP went from 0 to "Screw you I quit!" Hiram just stood there and straightened his jacket like, "That went way, way better than I thought." Now he can just get a new Sheriff and he doesn't have to be responsible for ousting the old one. I loved how Pop looked so happy talking about Riverdale and Alice was just like, "That must make it extra hard to live with all the murders." You don't know that, Alice. Maybe he loves Riverdale because he loves living on the Hellmouth. Don't make assumptions. New theory: Riverdale takes place in a hellish pocket universe created by the demon Pop to torture people for self-absorbed.
  9. So, Narek's plan was to get the information from Soji without freaking her out, so that she wouldn't activate. Then, after talking to his sister, he tells her the thing that will most freak her out, and the whole thing ends with her activating. I think maybe he cares about her after all, and made her activate on purpose so she could protect herself from his sister, but he could still get the intel he wanted and have plausible deniability. For the rest... I realized part way through that whatever this show tells me about Romulans isn't cannon to me. Also, Picard has been on Borg ships lots of times since he was assimilated and he dealt with it. If anything, he should be freaking out because it reminds him of Data getting killed, but that's not the plot line they want to explore right now. I also still wish I got to hear what Seven of Nine thinks of this cube.
  10. Conspiracies! Hiram is sick conspiracy: Hiram isn't sick (obvs, we know that) but he doesn't know. Hermione and Hermosa are working together to make him think he's sick so he'll change his will. Why? I don't know. Maybe Hermosa is really a psychopath named Charles. New Jughead conspiracy: Jughead got attacked by someone in the woods, but he didn't know who it was (maybe b/c he was wearing a stupid mask). He woke up and saw his friends there and was like, "Guys, someone tried to kill me! Go find out who it was while I pretend to be dead and hide in the sex bunker. Also burn my hat because I hate it." They did that, but everyone except Jughead secretly believed that maybe Betty was the one who attacked him. FP wasn't in on it at first but, once they needed to find the "body," they brought him in on it (probably in the morgue, after Betty pushed the preppies out and told them to go away). I don't know why Archie ran into Brett's room and yelled "You killed Jughead" when no one had any reason to believe Jughead was dead yet, and I don't know why Brett wasn't smart enough to point that out, but maybe the scene got moved. (I am genuinely enjoying the guessing game parts of the show). Maybe I'll finally get my wish and the whole series will retroactively be Jughead's novel. Also, I forget which school is which, but didn't the admissions officer come and interview her at her bar? And maybe have to watch her sing a song first? Didn't she throw that back in Principal Honeybee's face when she was drunk that one time? Unrelated detail: I really like the lace on her collar in the first Pop's scene.
  11. I think he just has to say that he watched Picard getting old, so he made himself look old, too, and then he can gloat about how it's not a real body for him so he doesn't have to deal with all the sad humiliations of actual aging. No, my friend, Kai Winn died in a much more extreme and bizarre way:
  12. LOL at past!me saying last week that I loved this show and hoped nothing happened to change that. I still look forward to seeing Seven if/when she comes back again, but this transition feels weird to me. I know there was always some tension between her liking order because she was Borg vs her being kind of a rebel as a human, and it's valid to say that the rebel side won, but she's so different. Also, when she killed Icheb and called him "my child," I know that what she meant was, "For those of you who didn't watch Voyager, or aren't huge nerds and don't remember, he was as a son to me," but what I heard was, "Remember how Kai Winn used to call everybody 'my child' before she did something really messed up?" I want to know that too, mostly because that was such a weird pairing to begin with, and because I think Janeway was actively destroying the timeline to break them up. Gimme that 20-year-old tea, Star Trek: Picard. Yeah, I'm not thrilled about Raffi's story in general, but I was interested in that one part where her son goaded her into yelling like a crazy person about how there was a massive conspiracy on Mars. We know that she's probably right, but it's easy to see why everyone else thinks she's wrong, which I like. Yeah, that seemed like a weirdly intense solution to me, given that she hadn't tried much of anything else, and it also didn't sound like they managed to actually remove his cortical implant when they pulled out his eye? I wasn't super paying attention, though, so maybe there's a reason he was going to die. I was kind of bummed out by that, too. I thought these characters would be able to have a really interesting conversation about the Borg, because their experiences were so different. In fact, I was waiting to see how they would each relate to this Borg cube rehabilitation situation, since they had such different POVs. Maybe that will still happen, but saying that they're both former Borg, as the show does here, is a huge oversimplification.
  13. I was undecided about this for the first three episodes, but now I love it, and I'm so scared that they'll do something to make me un-love it before the season's over. I also went into it with zero spoilers or knowledge of what was going to happen, so it was a super happy surprise when Seven showed up at the end. Very excited to see a new take on that character. I particularly enjoy how he needs to recruit party members who hate him. That's kind of what happens on all the rag-tag misfit shows, but the fact that they deliberately spelled it out this time makes me laugh. This is my least favourite story line. I think parts of the Narek/Soji Romance of Deception work okay but also belong on a different show. The sister stuff doesn't need to be here at all. Like, why not just make her his girlfriend and create the love triangle that way? Why do they need to be related?
  14. This one was really funny in exactly the way I like. To me, the best part was when Jughead's teacher told him 10 pages of thinly-veiled autobiography about how much he hates his classmates wouldn't help him and he was like, "Joke's on you -- it'll be more than 10 pages!" I went to creative writing school and that scene felt very true to me. In all seriousness, though, when he forfeited the duel with Brett last week, I thought that meant he was already quitting the secret society and renouncing the book contract and that that was the point of the gesture and his snappy statements about how he didn't want to be part of their dumb rich kid club. But now, this week, he's surprised that he's getting kicked off both things? I honestly don't understand. I think the idea is that the school, as a whole, runs the Baxter Brothers empire to keep itself afloat, and they do that by scouting the outside world for vulnerable, talented youth, and then recruiting them and stealing their ideas. So, they read Jughead's story, and they were like, "He's our next victim," and they brought him into the school and set him up to win a "contest" to get the contract, which he then didn't read but which said any ideas he submitted were their IP, and then he wrote an okay book and they made up a reason to reject it so they could steal the core idea and have their own people (the rich students) re-work it without giving him credit or money. They wanted to get the Blackhood IP from him, too, but he wouldn't submit it, and then he'd outlived his usefulness because he and his girlfriend kept asking questions, so they made up another reason to terminate the contract and get rid of him. So, basically, everyone was in on it from the beginning and the stuff about having a rivalry with Brett was mostly just theatre while they were fattening him up to steal his ideas. I'm also enjoying that. I think having Veronica drunk all the time is making her give a bigger, louder, more exaggerated performance, and I'm here for it. Also, you know what? If a teen runs an illegal booze empire, I feel like it makes sense that she has a drinking problem. I like that this show is keeping me guessing every week about what's going on. Currently, my guess is that maybe that second trigger word makes Betty black out but not attack anyone, so the preppies took advantage of it to make her think she attacked Jughead when she didn't. I don't know how that fits with Jughead's plan, But, perhaps he told her the plan during the blackout period, so she doesn't remember that he's faking his death? IDK. Still interested to fined out, though. At first, I was taken aback that Archie asked if he could walk across the stage anyway, even though he wasn't graduating, but then, with the additional context that he just needs to take some classes over the summer and graduate in the fall, it made more sense.
  15. It'll turn out he needs the blood of a red-haired working-class youth to heal. My favorite detail is that they didn't even try to tell us what disease he has. They were just like, "All you need to know is that he's super, super sick and it's a non-specific thing you haven't heard of." Hermione either put a lot of forethought into that lie, or someone else put no thought into it. Time will tell.
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