Sorcerers, School Dances, and Spies

Date: November 19, 2021

Music Video of the Day:

I’d rather feel pain than nothing at all…

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)

dr. strange movie poster
Useless? The man charted a top ten hit with a Flugelhorn.

“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)

spider-man homecoming movie poster
Don’t do anything I would do, and definitely don’t do anything I wouldn’t do. There’s a little grey area there, and that’s where you operate.

“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)

black widow movie poster (white outfit)
I doubt the god from space has to take ibuprofen after a fight.

“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.

TA Out!

ENT: “Oasis”

Date: November 8, 2021

Season 1, Episode 20

Music Video of the Day:

Love ain’t always what you think it ought to be…

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.

The alien trader D'Marr
“My courage doesn’t need testing.”

Favorite Quote:

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.

Ezral and Liana
Odo makes an appearance right after Neelix!

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.

TA Out!

ENT: “Acquisition”

Date: November 4, 2021

Season 1, Episode 19

Music Video of the Day:

In honor of the awesome panel I did this evening.

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.

Favorite Quote:

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.
Four Ferengi in a row (from left to right): Ulis, Grish, Krem, and Muk
“Everybody knows you’d steal the wax out of your own mother’s ears.”

“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.

TA Out!

ENT: “Rogue Planet”

Date: November 3, 2021

Season 1, Episode 18

Music Video of the Day:

Interstellar News: Today was another incredibly busy day at work. I had a doctor’s appointment this morning and then went into the office for two virtual meetings and about 50+ emails. I’m close to being at the end of busy season, and it feels good. During dinner we watched Hocus Pocus, as I’ll be on a panel tomorrow evening dedicated to its anniversary.

TL;DR: The crew encounters a planet that has broken its orbit. It also happens to be the once-every-four-years hunting ground of the Eska (who are sort of like Hirogen or the aliens from “Captive Pursuit“). As they share a meal, Archer keeps seeing a beautiful woman. The “animals” the Eska are hunting are telepathic shapeshifters and they reach out to Archer for help. With the help of Dr. Phlox, Archer deploys something so the creatures can’t be found by the Eska any longer.

Favorite Quote:

Archer : Do Vulcan captains have their portraits hanging at the High Command?

T’Pol: Vulcans are revered for their accomplishments, not for the way they look.

Tucker: Except for the really important ones, who get mummified.

Archer is uncomfortable having his portrait commissioned.
A blonde woman wearing a blue dress - it's who Archer sees in the woods
“Never stop seeking what seems unobtainable.”

“What are the chances you’d encounter a half-naked woman who you think you know dozens of light years from your home world?”: This was an interesting episode. In reading back through my “Captive Pursuit” post, Sisko was stuck behind the Prime Directive and couldn’t do much. Here, Archer has no such directive but he’s also trying to make friends and not enemies. It doesn’t take more than a minute to realize the hunted are sentient and that the Eska are being less than truthful – but the crew still helps where they can. Dr. Phlox is always on top of things and he’s so very compassionate. I did love the bit at the top where Tucker and Reed were comparing their merit badges in the dorkiest dick-measuring contest ever. This episode doesn’t leave much of an impression on me, though. It’s a cool bit of technobabble with a planet that’s no longer in orbit, and it’s interesting to meet a new species and have them discuss their traditions with the Enterprise, but it’s just some naked woman running through the woods and Archer being absolutely un-captainly running after her. I think that means it’s only 5 stuffies for Porthos to look longingly at, but can never destroy.

TA Out!

ENT: “Fusion”

Date: November 2, 2021

Season 1, Episode 17

Music Video of the Day:

“Well, tell me, how am I supposed to save a girl like you when I don’t even know how to save myself?”

Interstellar News: It was an incredibly busy day at work. I’m so thankful the husband person took Monday off and did all of the laundry – because there was no time to do anything but put out fires all day. I managed to watch TWO episodes of Enterprise, though I barely have anything left to offer for today… so today’s post is going to be short.

TL;DR: The Enterprise encounters a ship of hippie Vulcans who do not repress their emotions and are not vegetarians. Tucker and Kov, their engineer, get along fine – asking each other questions about the other’s race – but Kov’s father is dying and wants to talk to him one more time. Archer encourages T’Pol to keep an open mind. She spends a lot of time with Tolaris who winds up physically and mentally assaulting her and Archer. The Vulcans leave and nothing bad happens to them… sigh.

Favorite Quote:

Tucker: “You probably don’t know this, but regret is one of the strongest emotions and one of the saddest. I have a feeling you haven’t had a brush with it yet, but it sounds to me like you’re pretty close. That’s something you might want to avoid.”

Tucker imparting some wisdom on Kov.
Tolaris and T'Pol talking to each other
Logic is an essential part of Vulcan existence, but it has to complement emotions, not exclude them.”

“Just because they smile and eat chicken doesn’t mean they’ve learned to master their emotions.”: I absolutely hate how there’s once again an episode where a female crew member is somehow assaulted and there’s no justice, no punishment, and no sign of any consequences. The bit about Tucker and Kov is wonderful, as well as the “lesson” on regret… but it’s all spoiled by the dude who can’t keep his mind in his meld. Dr. Phlox, at least, gives wonderful advice when he tells T’Pol to ease into things that these folks have been at for years. It was advice that she should have told to Tolaris, not that he would listen. But nothing bad happens to Tolaris and even Archer just gets thrown into a locker for his trouble. Such absolute bullshit. No treats for Porthos on this episode, it’s just one more bad assault episode that I won’t rewatch.

TA Out!