Interstellar News: I completely dropped the ball, no pun intended, and haven’t finished… again. To make up for it, here are adorable animal pictures. It’s what Betty White would have wanted. As I was writing this post, news of her passing hit. I absolutely lover her in The Golden Girls, Hot in Cleveland, The Proposal, Lake Placid, and almost everything she’s every done. She was a kind soul and loved animals, and I firmly believe the world would be a better place if we were all a little more like her.
I haven’t even written in December, and for that I am eternally sorry.
2020 and 2021 have been two incredibly difficult years, when I thought things just couldn’t get worse from 2019 when I lost my Mom. Between the apocalypse that never ends and work that keeps getting more intense, I thought Star Trek and Marvel would be my escape. I’ve at least started on Season 2 of Enterprise and we’ve finished the Marvel marathon. Technically we still have Shang Chi and The Eternals – but since I’ve never seen them I’m calling the marathon “finished” in 2021. I’ll write up the others eventually, but I also watched all of the other Spider-Men movies (1, 2, 3, Amazing 1, Amazing 2, and Spider-verse) along with the canon MCU ones. We finished all of the Star Wars movies, the Ocean’s trilogy, and probably a ton of other stuff I can’t remember.
Work has been incredibly difficult and this year was loooooong. I could swear Biden was almost halfway through his term when I realized he just was inaugurated in 2021. The boat thing happened and so did a million other things. I’ve been vaccinated twice – once with J&J and once with a Moderna booster. They were both incredibly difficult things for me to do and I’m so done with people who both won’t get vaccinated (not can’t, just won’t) and who still refuse to mask, stay home when sick, wash their hands, etc.
I will close out this year like I did the year before – wash your hands, be kind, live long and prosper, be excellent to each other, and may the Force be with us always.
Interstellar News: Today was lots of laundry and some grocery shopping to capitalize on some excellent deals. I’m a bit of a coupon queen. Anyway, I watched two episodes of Enterprise today – I’m actually on Season 2 already… just a bit behind with the writing. I was also avoiding writing up this episode because it features Dean Stockwell (oh, Al) who recently passed away. Anyway, away we go…
TL;DR: Archer and Mayweather are detained by Tandarians, along with several Suliban, while they await the formality of a trial. Two things become clear: Colonel Grat wants answers from Archer about the Cabal and not all Suliban are part of the Cabal. Archer likens the Suliban imprisonment to that of Japanese internment campus during World War II. Enterprise comes to rescue Archer and Mayweather – and Archer decides to free the Suliban so they can live in freedom.
T’Pol: I thought you decided not to interfere with other cultures.
Archer: In this case, I’m making an exception.
Captain’s prerogative? Must be nice to not have a prime directive…
“I know, I know. It’s a big problem with me. I’m just too damn curious.”: This episode advances the plot of the “temporal cold war” and Cabal stuff, shows Reed all made up as a Suliban (thanks to Phlox), and shows us why the prime directive is so needed. This is also your general run-of-the-mill racism episode. Grat is a great character. He starts off as the friend and the “I’m so sorry, it’s above my pay grade” and then slowly morphs into the man who has run out of patience and needs information now. The events of “Broken Bow” and “Cold Front” are known to Grat and his people while T’Pol and Tucker have to work together on a strategy for diplomatic relations AND saving their people.
I liked some of the pieces of this episode. Every time Archer and Grat were in the room together, my Quantum Leapheart was so happy. Mayweather and Archer both took beatings for the team, and Mayweather was NOT used as the token black guy – there was more of a focus on the similarities of Japanese internment than there was how Black folks are treated in the U.S. Archer, however, makes a decision only three seconds after meeting the non-Cabal Suliban without knowing anything else. Maybe it was unjust and maybe it sucked, but it was totally not his decision to make. I get he had to make it for things to happen later on, but that’s setting a bad precedent and it’s too much power for a starship captain to have. Porthos give this episode 4 sad “awooooos” and also wants you to listen to the lyrics of the song posted above – it’s sadly still needed.
Interstellar News: I’m sorry I’ve been away, again, but life has been difficult to say the least. Seasonal depression is real, family drama is draining, and being away from people you love makes it all that much harder. It was wonderful to celebrate a dear friend upon his achievement of his fourth degree black belt (Osu Sensei!) and to have dinner with family tonight. The holidays are also almost here – so there will be some days I may not post. In honor of this being my 500th post, however, here’s a trio of Marvel movies.
Doctor Strange (2016)
“Mister Doctor? It’s Strange. Maybe. Who am I to judge?”: This movie has its ups and downs, but the dialogue is fantastic. It’s hard to believe all of this happens in a year, but it’s totally believable that Stephen Strange is a complete and utter bastard who has to lose his whole world before giving a shit about other people. I love some of the messages in the movie – like not texting and driving, caring about other people even if they don’t benefit your career, and magic always coming at a cost. I also love Christine Palmer, Wong, and Mordo – for very different reasons.
Christine Palmer is a bad ass doctor who cares about her patients, not just her career. She is just as quick as Strange with medical knowledge or a comeback and she has a large heart that just can’t handle being abused by the self-centered Strange. I love how she just goes with the flow when Strange is knocked out of his body, she’s absolutely wonderful. Mordo makes the transition to villain very slowly and you kinda don’t fault him for the way he has changed his allegiance. It’s extremely hard to be lied to and then be expected to just keep following anyway. I don’t agree with his methods at all, but I also kind of understand how his mind jumped to it. Wong, of course, is the best. He’s such a supportive yet commanding force. I love him listening to Beyonce, doing his best to keep Strange out of trouble, and just being an easygoing and strong character.
Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)
“Someone’s got to look out for the little guy.”: There is SO MUCH good in this movie, it’s hard to remember it all. Keaton is fantabulous and Holland has the right amount of ridiculousness we expect from our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man who is also still in high school. We get all the “fun” high school things, like bullies and parties and dances, while also having the added PSAs from Captain America. Aunt May and Iron Man do their best to rein in Parker, but he’s too invested in “the next mission”. He obsesses over contacting Happy, but he also shows classic signs of needing attention that he obviously isn’t getting. The plot twist of Toomes being his date’s father made me gasp the first time I saw this, and still gets me every time. Toomes does everything he can to get Parker to stop once he knows he’s just a kid – but takes the gloves off when Parker continues to get in his way.
Every single character, no matter how small, plays their role wonderfully. The man at the bodega (and his cat), the guy who wanted to buy guns, the best friend, the teachers, and just everyone make the movie the success it is.
Black Widow (2021)
“This would be a cool way to die. // Such a poser.”: This movie makes me happy that Natasha finally got HER movie. We find out more about her past, get to see David Harbour and Florence Pugh have the time of their lives, and get some good notes about the state of women in the (fictional) world – that maybe aren’t so fictional. While the movie isn’t perfect, it’s a lot of fun. I watched it when it first came out with a friend and then we watched it again as a group when it was “free” on Disney+. On the second watch, I was able to really focus more on what I liked and disliked about the movie. There are so many callbacks to previous outings by Johansson as the Widow and this gives her character so much more depth. I thought there were some pieces that could have either been cut or better explained, and I wasn’t a fan of Dreykov, but I did enjoy Ross getting fooled once again. The convenience physics and some of the fight scenes were a little hard to believe, even in a fake comic book world, but I did enjoy the idea of Alexei finally getting to meet Captain America for realsies. Maybe we’ll get something like that in the future!
Go get you an awesome vest with pockets and catch these movies if you haven’t already – you won’t be disappointed, even if you have no idea what’s going on.
Interstellar News: Work has begun to slow down, though this weekend was quite busy. Tomorrow is laundry day and I don’t think I’m prepared for how much actually needs to be done. I did get two more episodes ahead and hope to be done with Season 1 by the end of the week.
TL;DR: A trader named D’marr tells Archer and Tucker about a haunted ship. The crew of the Enterprise visits the ghost ship and finds the “ghost” crew – they’ve been stuck down there for 3 years. Tucker makes friends with the engineer’s daughter and the crew works on helping them fix their ship. When Sato reconstructs some data it comes to light the ship has been down there 22 years, not 3, and then they find an escape pod in orbit with a very dead crew member. It turns out the crew were all holograms, except for Ezral and Liana, because he felt guilty about killing them all and he wanted his daughter to grow up with familiarity. He does ask Archer for supplies so they can actually get home while Tucker gets a goodbye kiss.
Archer: Can I get you something? Some tea?
Ezral: I’m fine. No, I’m not. Your engineer is a very plain-spoken man.
Archer: That’s one way of putting it.
Oh Tucker, you’re certainly making a name for yourself with the ladies.
“Maybe it’s time I stopped being so afraid of change.“: There are some things that are very fun about this episode. Obviously there’s the mystery of the “ghost” ship and the crew can’t resist being curious. You know something is fishy, especially when they won’t come visit the ship – but once Liana is allowed to leave, the mystery deepens with her father’s warning. I love all of the questions she asks Tucker (“what’s a dog?”) and even their romance in an episode kinda makes sense when you realize he’s the first real person she’s met in a long time. I also love that the meddling of the crew is what allows Ezral to finally take the leap to getting Liana home and facing his mistake. I also love that T’Pol gives Tucker immense amounts of shit – including not letting him forget about the events of “Unexpected“. At least Tucker has a type – female engineers.
I don’t like how the holographic crew and Ezral allow Enterprise to help and then strong arms them into doing other things. They could have just asked them to leave and not accepted the help in the first place. I can’t imagine that Ezral wanted to leave Liana alone in case anything happened to him – I mean what was his actual endgame here? 22 years is just too long. This episode gets a 5 minute segment on the tour of just Liana meeting Porthos and being delighted to meet a puppy.
Interstellar News: Work was a little less busy today so I got the chance to see a dear friend’s new place. Post-dinner, I got to do another panel for my good friends on the American Sci-Fi Classics Track, celebrating Hocus Pocus. Professor Zoom and Thor got to make an appearance, it was a good evening… though I am hella tired.
TL;DR: A ship of Ferengi gas the Enterprise and start looting the place. Tucker is the only one awake, at first, because he was in the decon chamber. Archer is woken up by the Ferengi so he can tell them the location of “the vault” and T’Pol is woken up by Tucker to try to lure the Ferengi into a trap. The Ferengi, of course, are outsmarted and leave with nothing.
Archer: Rules of Acquisition?
Krem: That’s rule number forty five. I’ve memorized all a hundred and seventy three, including the most important one. A man is only worth the sum of his possessions.
Archer: Back on my home world that kind of thinking almost destroyed our civilization.
Krem: You should’ve managed your businesses better.
Ferengi wisdom comes in a book.
“No deal. I’d rather you take the women and go.”: I don’t know why, but I absolutely loved this episode and I laughed almost the entire time. From the Ferengi just completely tossing the place, to realizing it’s Ethan Phillips (who played Neelix) and Jeffery Combs (who has played everyone) as two of the Ferengi, and finally Tucker running around in his underwear for the first half of the episode – I was in stitches. For as many characters as Combs has played in Trek, including Brunt the Ferengi, I totally bought that he was green and just starting out.
I love how Archer tries to play along, he’s quite good at improv, and he promises to show them the “vault” and even negotiates with them. When that doesn’t work, he does his best to get into Krem’s head and start sowing some dissent. I cackled so hard when Tucker pretended that Sato was his wife and he got into a fake fight with Archer, I wonder how many times they had to film that scene. I also loved how T’Pol even got in on it by fake hitting on Krem. The fact that neither of them cracked a smile when Krem asked her to “stroke his lobes” is a credit to them both as actors. I couldn’t even type that without laughing.
There are a few small things that keep this from being a perfect episode. We supposedly make first contact with the Ferengi in “The Last Outpost“, and since this show happens waaaaaaaay before that – there’s a continuity issue. There’s also the fact that they say NOTHING about all of the females being clothed, though I do love that the crew is a good mix. But then there’s the whip that Ulis uses, which is a nice throwback, and the fact that Muk is so taken by Porthos. Speaking of my favorite beagle, Porthos is the absolute worst watch-dog ever. Despite these few small issues, I absolutely enjoyed this episode and give it 9 hours of cuddles with Porthos.