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S01.E06: Terminal Provocations

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Air date: September 10, 2020

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The lovable but awkward Ensign Fletcher makes work difficult for Mariner and Boimler. Rutherford introduces Tendi to a holodeck training program he created.

 

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The lovable but awkward Ensign Fletcher

I don't know about lovable....

I'd be in favor of Badgey becoming a recurring character, though.

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Fletcher won't be missed.

Did Rutherford imprint the murderous aspects of Badgey from himself ? Much like how Fletcher's mind imprinted on the isolinear core. Or did Rutherford simply kicking Badgey just somehow allow Badgey to suddenly acquire said murderous tendencies ? 

Speaking of the isolinear core, why would it suddenly come to life exactly ?  Also with murderous tendencies under the guise of learning more.  And was the core destroyed because that seems like something they might want to make sure was destroyed -- otherwise it might continue to consume things to gain more knowledge and turn into the next V'ger.

Apparently the ship that was being salvaged was the USS Darius (NCC-502) according to trekipedia.com.


 

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2 hours ago, ottoDbusdriver said:

Did Rutherford imprint the murderous aspects of Badgey from himself ? Much like how Fletcher's mind imprinted on the isolinear core. Or did Rutherford simply kicking Badgey just somehow allow Badgey to suddenly acquire said murderous tendencies ? 

Speaking of the isolinear core, why would it suddenly come to life exactly ?  Also with murderous tendencies under the guise of learning more.  And was the core destroyed because that seems like something they might want to make sure was destroyed -- otherwise it might continue to consume things to gain more knowledge and turn into the next V'ger.

Rutherford said that he hadn't finished Badgey but wanted to show off. So a combo of incomplete code plus kicking Badgey plus power surge plus safety protocols shutting off= homicidal Badgey. It plays with a typical Trek staple of a holodeck/holosuite going haywire and trying to take over the ship/kill people. 

The plot of weird accident giving a machine sentience also is a thing that happens in Trek. V'Ger and Nomad are the first to come to mind. Daystrom in the Ultimate Computer tried to infuse a computer with his brain not unlike Fletcher but ended up making it crazy. There was no indication that the sentient core was murderous. It was just greedy and wanted to assimilate stuff and get bigger. It grabbed Boimler and Mariner but made no attempt to harm him. It seemed to have Fletcher's personality -- just liked eating stuff (not unlike Fletcher consuming the puree, and it repeated a bunch of things he had been saying earlier. 

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I think this is the first time we've seen one ship use a tractor beam to hurl debris at another ship and it seems to be an effective mode of attack if one has enough debris about.

I liked the choo-choo party and how they didn't even try to explain what it was. The Delta shift lower deckers were funny too.

Tendi and Rutherford sure have a lot of spare time on their hands. She's a medic and he's an engineer but in the middle of a crisis they're on the holodeck? I guess there is plenty of precedent for that in Trek lore.

I'm also not sure why Rutherford felt the need to keep working on impressing Tendi. She already follows him everywhere he goes and they had a moment when their boots got stuck together.

The crew also geeks out about the possibility of finding old Starfleet gear but is anything really rare in a society with replicators? Want an old-school clamshell communicator? Replicate one! It's not like they were hand-built in the 23rd century.

Shaxs is a bit over-enthusiastic for a tactical officer, aiming right for the enemy ship's (somehow exposed) warp core. Starfleet used to be good at ship-jitsu where they would snipe the guns off of a hostile vessel and then call them up to give them a stern lecture. I guess the Dominion War really did shorten Starfleet's fuse.

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They really really gotta mix up this cast, like yesterday.  We've already seen these 2 pairs bounce off each other for 6 episodes already.  Bounce off the others!

I found Fletcher totally baffling as a character, just literally made no sense at all.  First he's just super-nice, then suddenly he's all these other things for no reason.  Didn't like Badgey either, that's some real Cartoon Network baloney.  Oo, a reference!  (That only old people get!)  And he's murderous and there's blood, how edgy!!!!!

This was my least favorite episode yet, basically everything bad about the show at once to me.  Especially annoying because the Upper Decks plot (which, I know no one cares what I think, but I must reiterate I think shouldn't exist in this show) would be actually very interesting in a different context.

4 hours ago, ottoDbusdriver said:

Did Rutherford imprint the murderous aspects of Badgey from himself ? Much like how Fletcher's mind imprinted on the isolinear core. Or did Rutherford simply kicking Badgey just somehow allow Badgey to suddenly acquire said murderous tendencies ? 

I thought Badgey got his murderous tendencies from Fletcher.  They both had the same kind of (weirdly unstated and unresolved, for Star Trek) daddy issues.  I suppose it doesn't make sense if the core was separate from the ship, but on the other hand, what even made the holodeck go awry?  I thought during the episode it was because Fletcher had uploaded his weird issues into the ship, but maybe not.

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7 minutes ago, dwmarch said:

I liked the choo-choo party and how they didn't even try to explain what it was. The Delta shift lower deckers were funny too.

I did like the Delta Shift, and how they were sort of aggro but mostly reasonable in the end.  But the choo-choo party really did not work for me.  Ha ha, it's randum LOLZZZZ!  Cheese unicorn keytar!  It seems like exactly the kind of lame TNG entertainment that Mariner so hated when she was promoted.

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10 minutes ago, dwmarch said:

Tendi and Rutherford sure have a lot of spare time on their hands. She's a medic and he's an engineer but in the middle of a crisis they're on the holodeck? I guess there is plenty of precedent for that in Trek lore.

I'm also not sure why Rutherford felt the need to keep working on impressing Tendi. She already follows him everywhere he goes and they had a moment when their boots got stuck together.

The crew also geeks out about the possibility of finding old Starfleet gear but is anything really rare in a society with replicators? Want an old-school clamshell communicator? Replicate one! It's not like they were hand-built in the 23rd century.

I think it was supposed to be Beta shift's downtime when Tendi and Rutherford were on the holodeck. Either that, or because Tendi needed spacewalk training they could justify going. Things hadn't devolved to crisis until they were on the holodeck.

Rutherford's a geek and has probably not picked up on whether Tendi likes him or not. Not to mention she probably has those Orion pheromones going on.

It's one thing to duplicate something, but it's another to find the real thing. 

3 minutes ago, KimberStormer said:

They really really gotta mix up this cast, like yesterday.  We've already seen these 2 pairs bounce off each other for 6 episodes already.  Bounce off the others!

I found Fletcher totally baffling as a character, just literally made no sense at all.  First he's just super-nice, then suddenly he's all these other things for no reason.  Didn't like Badgey either, that's some real Cartoon Network baloney.  Oo, a reference!  (That only old people get!)  And he's murderous and there's blood, how edgy!!!!!

This was my least favorite episode yet, basically everything bad about the show at once to me.  Especially annoying because the Upper Decks plot (which, I know no one cares what I think, but I must reiterate I think shouldn't exist in this show) would be actually very interesting in a different context.

I thought Badgey got his murderous tendencies from Fletcher.  They both had the same kind of (weirdly unstated and unresolved, for Star Trek) daddy issues.  I suppose it doesn't make sense if the core was separate from the ship, but on the other hand, what even made the holodeck go awry?  I thought during the episode it was because Fletcher had uploaded his weird issues into the ship, but maybe not.

I agree about mixing up the cast. I do like that for the first time in a while, maybe since the series started, Mariner was a less hyper rebel-without-a-pause and Boimler was not a hapless loser. 

We're supposed to take the two high-tech things as unrelated. Fletcher plugged himself only into the core, and no other systems (as far as we saw, anyway) seemed to be affected. The AOWs kept throwing debris at the Cerritos, which caused shield problems, which caused a power surge/loss/fluctuation/thingy. Badgey became like he was because a) he wasn't properly finished b) Rutherford was abusive to him c) there was the power surge/loss/fluctuation/thingy, which in turn led to d) the holodeck safeguards getting shut off, which in turn gave Badgey the freedom to express his simmering rage. 

The holodeck went awry? Must be Thursday. 

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11 hours ago, Chicago Redshirt said:

We're supposed to take the two high-tech things as unrelated.

I'm sure you're right but this only makes the weird undiscussed and unresolved daddy issues more weird!

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I'm still wondering why the non-commissioned officers and crew don't seem to exist.  Petty officers, crewmen (persons), every other Star Trek had them and technically, Ensigns are officers so they shouldn't be doing all of the grunt work.  Wouldn't they be overseeing the crewmen doing grunt work.

I've been wondering about Tendi's specialization too.  Wasn't she assigned to medical? Why is she floating around with Rutherford doing engineering stuff?  Speaking of confusing, Mariner seems to have undergone a complete personality change.  All of a sudden she wants to hang out with Boimler and is best buddies with him after giving him so much grief in the first few episodes.

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I've enjoyed all these episodes so far.  Like many of us, I have much less than usual to look forward to in the short term lately, so perhaps I'm inclined to be pleased.  But I do like the callbacks, the goofy stories, yada yada yada.

My question with this one is, wasn't it implied that Fletcher's mind was addled by the whatever with the core he hooked himself up to?  (Yes, as you can tell, I'm one of those highly detail-oriented Trekkies.)  So when he went from the guy who gets along with everyone to this crazy jerk, and they were all kinda tickled to see him transferred and then fired, it kinda seemed like they were kicking a guy who was down.  They all loved him before, then he had what seemed analogous to a traumatic brain injury, then he was a schmuck they were rooting against?  I've felt all along that a key to enjoying this show is not to overthink it, and I'm breaking my own rule, but that struck me as kinda off.

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6 hours ago, 853fisher said:

My question with this one is, wasn't it implied that Fletcher's mind was addled by the whatever with the core he hooked himself up to?  (Yes, as you can tell, I'm one of those highly detail-oriented Trekkies.)  So when he went from the guy who gets along with everyone to this crazy jerk, and they were all kinda tickled to see him transferred and then fired, it kinda seemed like they were kicking a guy who was down.  They all loved him before, then he had what seemed analogous to a traumatic brain injury, then he was a schmuck they were rooting against?  I've felt all along that a key to enjoying this show is not to overthink it, and I'm breaking my own rule, but that struck me as kinda off.

I thought he was quite boorish even before he tried to ensmarten himself.  Nothing he did after seemed significantly dumber.

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11 hours ago, Linderhill said:

I'm still wondering why the non-commissioned officers and crew don't seem to exist.  Petty officers, crewmen (persons), every other Star Trek had them and technically, Ensigns are officers so they shouldn't be doing all of the grunt work.  Wouldn't they be overseeing the crewmen doing grunt work.

I've been wondering about Tendi's specialization too.  Wasn't she assigned to medical? Why is she floating around with Rutherford doing engineering stuff?  Speaking of confusing, Mariner seems to have undergone a complete personality change.  All of a sudden she wants to hang out with Boimler and is best buddies with him after giving him so much grief in the first few episodes.

Re: the non-commissioned officers and crew, I would say give it time. Other than Yeoman Rand and Miles O'Brien, I don't know if any of the regular shows featured much in the way of non-commissioned officers. By the same token, we haven't yet seen much if any of the middle managers on the Cerritos that there presumably must be.  

Tendi is in medical, but we have barely seen her do any medical-related stuff. (She reported to medical in the first episode, she tried to chill out the officer Rutherford freaked out with his poor bedside manner in the second episode, and she fantasized about how Medical would worship her for bringing back a T88 from the Vancouver last episode). The best in-show reason that she is hanging out with Rutherford so much is because she likes Rutherford (or at least, likes that Rutherford likes her). The real reason is because TPTB want to have a Mariner/Boimler plot and a Tendi/Rutherford plot each episode and are too lazy to come up with reasons to have the latter two together, or to have Tendi transferred to Engineering so that it would be more natural that they are working together.

I wouldn't say Mariner has undergone a personality change. She liked from the start hanging with Boimler (for instance, wanting to spar with him and teach him how to be a captain) and I think she still will give him grief when she thinks he deserves it (talking in this episode about how she would still maybe put him in jeopardy sometimes). I think part of the difference is that she was notably drunk in large swaths of the first couple episodes, so she was more over the top. Also, Boimler didn't really do any obnoxious stick-in-the-mud, by-the-book stuff in this one. Indeed, he did the opposite by leaving their task to Fletcher so they could go to the concert. 

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7 hours ago, 853fisher said:

My question with this one is, wasn't it implied that Fletcher's mind was addled by the whatever with the core he hooked himself up to?  (Yes, as you can tell, I'm one of those highly detail-oriented Trekkies.)  So when he went from the guy who gets along with everyone to this crazy jerk, and they were all kinda tickled to see him transferred and then fired, it kinda seemed like they were kicking a guy who was down.  They all loved him before, then he had what seemed analogous to a traumatic brain injury, then he was a schmuck they were rooting against?  I've felt all along that a key to enjoying this show is not to overthink it, and I'm breaking my own rule, but that struck me as kinda off.

I think it was implied that he had been doing stupid shiznit from back in the academy days and getting away with it because he was good at coming up with excuses and covering his ass. I didn't think that he had lost any of his own intelligence in the exchange with the core. If it's any consolation, presumably he would have had to undergo a physical on being transferred to the Titan that would have turned up evidence of him losing any mental capacity. 

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4 hours ago, starri said:

I thought he was quite boorish even before he tried to ensmarten himself.  Nothing he did after seemed significantly dumber.

what did he do that was boorish?  He expertly defused the Mariner/Cat Doctor situation (I refuse to learn any Upper Decks people's names) and seemed like he was too nice to be real, taking on extra work so that Boimler and Mariner could go to the choo-choo.  This is why I was utterly baffled when neither of them were like "What happened to Fletcher, it's like he completely changed personalities!" when he...completely changed personalities while they were at the show.

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1 hour ago, KimberStormer said:

what did he do that was boorish?  He expertly defused the Mariner/Cat Doctor situation (I refuse to learn any Upper Decks people's names) and seemed like he was too nice to be real, taking on extra work so that Boimler and Mariner could go to the choo-choo.  This is why I was utterly baffled when neither of them were like "What happened to Fletcher, it's like he completely changed personalities!" when he...completely changed personalities while they were at the show.

I wouldn't say Fletcher was necessarily "boorish" either before or after, but there's nothing in what we saw him doing prior to the zapping that suggests he was significantly less intelligent after the experiment or had been damaged.

Not counting clips where he was a backgound character in previous episodes, we have seen Fletcher humming warp engine sounds, chugging three cantaloupes worth of cantaloupe puree from a communal replicator, kissing up to T'ana (cat doctor) but calling her behind her back "a cat in a coat," proclaiming that lower deckers should stick to together  and offering to finish up work that he apparently did not fully know how to do. 

The fact that he seemed too nice to be real foreshadowed that he was in fact too nice to be real.

Even if we accept that the experiment actively made him less intelligent or hurt him in some way, he didn't have to make up the story about being attacked or to let Mariner or Boimler go on the wild goose chase to find the attackers. At any time, he could have come clean and said, "hey guys, I tried something and it didn't work."

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3 hours ago, Chicago Redshirt said:

Even if we accept that the experiment actively made him less intelligent or hurt him in some way, he didn't have to make up the story about being attacked or to let Mariner or Boimler go on the wild goose chase to find the attackers.

Not made him less intelligent, made him a jerk weirdo.  Chugging cantaloupe and joining Boimler in the engine-noise game that Boimler started are...fun things.  So he's fun.  Stopping Mariner from getting in a fight with a superior officer and saying Lower Deckers gotta stick together and offering to help with work are...nice things.  So he's nice.  "Made him dumb" is something you just made up, @853fisher said "he went from the guy who gets along with everyone to this crazy jerk".  Which is true: suddenly he's making up stuff and super aggro and nobody remarks on it?  It's bizarre.  Sure, yes, too nice to be real and then it's not real, OK, but someone has to say "boy, Fletcher's shown his true colors!" not "This is just like Fletcher, even though the show has shown him to be the exact opposite of this in every way so far!"

Edited by KimberStormer
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57 minutes ago, KimberStormer said:

Not made him less intelligent, made him a jerk weirdo.  Chugging cantaloupe and joining Boimler in the engine-noise game that Boimler started are...fun things.  So he's fun.  Stopping Mariner from getting in a fight with a superior officer and saying Lower Deckers gotta stick together and offering to help with work are...nice things.  So he's nice.  "Made him dumb" is something you just made up, @853fisher said "he went from the guy who gets along with everyone to this crazy jerk".  Which is true: suddenly he's making up stuff and super aggro and nobody remarks on it?  It's bizarre.  Sure, yes, too nice to be real and then it's not real, OK, but someone has to say "boy, Fletcher's shown his true colors!" not "This is just like Fletcher, even though the show has shown him to be the exact opposite of this in every way so far!"

@B53FISHER was talking about whether the experiment with the core addled his mind or made him suffer a traumatic brain injury. I took that to mean made him less intelligent. But if I got that wrong, my bad. 

In terms of Fletcher being a jerk prior to the experiment:

Putting down the supervisor as a cat in a coat is kinda a jerk move, IMO. Also racist.

Volunteering for work that you don't really know how to do, also a jerk move.

Telling the Nausicaans that they should spit in Boimler's face, rather than actually stand up for him or try to talk them down further, not exxactly cool either. 

I can definitely relate to having coworkers who seem superficially nice but under that have a core of douchebaggery, CYA-ness, and desire to backstab.

Mariner literally says that she doesn't like Fletcher as she and Boimler are dragging the mutated core to the airlock. I guess that's the best we get.

Edited by Chicago Redshirt
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On 9/11/2020 at 4:18 AM, AnimeMania said:

So was Rutherford's injuries in the holodeck real or imaginary? They were probably no big deal either way.

The malfunction that locked them in the holodeck also disabled the safety protocols (have we ever seen those things actually work?), so yes Rutherford was really injured.  How serious they were is probably a matter of interpretation - I think he and Tendi were probably in actual danger from Badgey, but once things were under control it probably didn't take much to patch him up.

I thought this was a really solid episode.  It was really nice to see Boimler and Mariner working together on a problem and sticking up for each other.  Obviously part of that comes from having a legitimately bad officer in Fletcher - he was a good example of the lines they mostly avoid crossing.  I also liked the continuation of their antagonism with Delta Shift - who of course are basically grumpier versions of our crew,

The bridge staff storyline was enjoyable as well - it was great to hear JG Hertzler as the alien captain, and as someone else mentioned having them chuck junk at the Cerritos was a fun twist on space combat.  Otherwise, I think the senior officers were just the right level of exaggeration - trigger happy Shaxs is my favorite, but overly diplomatic Captain Freeman was a nice contrast to him.

I get why people are wondering why Tendi is always running diagnostics with Rutherford, rather than working in sick bay.  But ultimately, unless the story involves a medical emergency, there's really no reason for her to be there.  Yet, she still has to be part of the main show.  In hindsight, it might've been better to have her be in some other branch of science division, like maybe a sensor technician.  But, I think it's still reasonable for her to be doing techy stuff - if there's no big crisis, they'd probably prefer she assist with repairs than just hang around sick bay with nothing to do.

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On 9/11/2020 at 12:25 AM, Chicago Redshirt said:

 

The plot of weird accident giving a machine sentience also is a thing that happens in Trek.

Yeah, who can forget that old TNG episode where the Enterprise somehow got pregnant from magic space dust and had a baby following a very tedious train metaphor.   

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As an old geezer the holodeck thing reminded me of TAS’s “Practical Joker”, especially with the characters freezing in a blizzard.

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On 9/11/2020 at 12:52 AM, KimberStormer said:

I thought Badgey got his murderous tendencies from Fletcher.  They both had the same kind of (weirdly unstated and unresolved, for Star Trek) daddy issues.  I suppose it doesn't make sense if the core was separate from the ship, but on the other hand, what even made the holodeck go awry?  I thought during the episode it was because Fletcher had uploaded his weird issues into the ship, but maybe not.

Badgey was an unfinished/still-learning program that got abused by an impatient Rutherford who wanted to show-off for Tendi (who he clearly likes).  Abusing a learning machine means that machine will learn to abuse.

But the real deal behind that was to let Jack McBrayer and Noël Wells switch roles a bit as an homage to Wander Over Yonder

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