Diving Into the Cracks: Trill Symbiont

It’s been quite a while since I’ve done one of these posts, but it came up, I thought about it, and I want to make a post about it. By ‘it,’ I mean the Trill, and the Symbionts, as suggested by the title. This will be shorter than some of my past posts, as there’s only really one main point I want to make.

As usual, I make these posts because I think the general impression about them is wrong; or, at least, I have an alternate interpretation, that I think fits the fiction better than the general consensus. In this case, that consensus is that the Trill symbiont (the worm) merges its personality with the host (the humanoid Trill), which then makes a new person, so to speak. I don’t think that’s right.

I think that it’s more the symbiont is a repository of memory of the previous hosts. I question that the worm even has a personality, as we would recognise one. They are assumed to be sentient – the worms can communicate with each other in their natural habit, and it seems with hosts, and even caretakers of that natural habitat, to a limited extent. But, as I said, I don’t know if that means they actually have a “mind” as we would understand. And it seems that, even if it does, that doesn’t matter.

While the host’s personality – or at least, their external expression of that personality – does seem to change a bit, I wouldn’t put that down to a “merging” of sorts. Part of your personality, if not a large part, is shaped by your experiences – your memories – after all. If you suddenly, as a young person, gained the experiences of at least one entire lifetime, that’d change you. Just that would be incredibly valuable – and we (the viewers) can see that, with how the access to symbionts is controlled.

It also seems that the choice of hosts is not just based on intelligence and lack of metal illness, but on personality. As in, not much of one, at least by the time Jadzia was made a host. As we can see (and as we’d expect), Jadzia without the worm is far different from Jadzia Dax. But also, as we see from those times where we get to “meet” the past Daxes, each one is very different from each other. Jadzia just seems like a quiet, nervous nerd, but Jadzia Dax is pretty much the exact opposite. Presumably the future hosts are psychologically prepared on some way

And then there’s Ezri. She wasn’t chosen to be a host, she just happened to be there when a new one was urgently needed. We get to see, real time, what suddenly getting hundreds of years of memories does to someone who isn’t prepared at all. And it isn’t a sudden re-write of personality. It’s just an addition to what they already are.

(As an aside, I wonder if the conjoined Trill has eidetic memory. I don’t think the worm would work very well without it, but does the pair experience their memory like that? Especially if the Trill in general don’t, that’d be really weird to experience.)

Ezri a cute.

Double Cartoon Review: Lower Decks ep 4 and Granblue Fantasy ep 14

Since two episodes of different stuff came out this week, I’m going to review both at once. Good thing, because I don’t have much to say about either, but two is good for one blog post.

Lower Decks was, once again, OK. Not as good as the last episode, but still OK. It was, however, the most consistently funny episode yet: there weren’t some of the highs of the last episode, but there weren’t as many luls between the lols either.

The trouble remains, once again, the character of Mariner. She increases her Mary Sue levels once again. One might object, saying that she’s clearly a jerk. But this show comes from a school of thought that being a jerk is fine, if not good, if one is correct and/or funny. Mariner is right in every instance in this episode. It was nice to see her get a bit of character suffering, but it didn’t last. (Also, why do they just skip Lt.jg? They even have one of those this very episode.)

I’m also getting a bit weary of the “major crisis takes over the ship” gag. It’s like they think there must be a major action sequence every episode. I think this is where a lot of the not-Trek feeling comes from.

There was a serious misstep with the latest (and last) episode of Granblue Fantasy: there were two separate stories, one of which featured Gran. It seems almost like that section was an afterthought, even though it wasn’t: the animation and art is the worst in the series, almost constantly off-model and simple. It was mildly amusing seeing Lucha Gran, but it would have been better with Djeeta.

Much like the second part was. It’s clear that’s where the budget went to: most of the art is at the level of the best in the series, even the random mob shots. It’s also much more entertaining, a send-up of the shoujo-yuri genre. (Once again, Vira steals the show in her scenes.) I’m of course biased, but it was much better. And even funnier, with that ending. I wish the whole episode was this part, fleshed out.

Star Trek Picard: A Belated Review

This is really late, and nothing I say here will be terribly original, but I have to be honest.

I hate this show.

Not just because it’s low-quality, but because it actively, purposefully takes a massive dump on Trek and its fans. STD was bad in just about every way besides sfx (and even those often looked bad, but that was art direction, not poor quality), but Picard was worse. The writing is bad, the effects were not great, the directing was often poor, and the story itself is garbage.

It’s too bad, too. The show didn’t exactly start strong, but it wasn’t terrible either. But taking a full 30% of the show on the basic set-up (without leaving Earth) was a bad move, even if that stuff was some of the best stuff in the show (a low bar, to be sure). And that wasn’t even the end of the set-up, either. No, four of ten episodes happened before the adventure proper starts.

And then things go downhill, fast. The entire fifth episode was a joke which feels more at home in a SyFy original than Star Trek (moreso than the rest of the show). That would have been bearable, if they didn’t literally destroy the legacy of Trek out at the end of the episode. And things got even worse after that. With only one sort-of quality episode after the third (unsurprisingly, the one where we get good guest-stars, and the one without the vast majority of the Picard-original characters), the show just goes from one mess to the next.

It doesn’t help that this show feels cheap. Despite being supposedly one of the most expensive shows in the history of television (there are rumors that a bunch of funding was diverted to STD S3, which I can believe), things seem so simple and basic. The space shots are sparse. The sets, especially the main ship set, are cheap. The props are even more out of place than the sets, especially as the show goes on (they literally use a standard, unmodified park table as the “meeting table”). The lack of ship designs in a Star Trek show is atrocious – in any large fleet scene, there are three separate ship designs, even the one time there are two opposing fleets!

Also note the standard, unmodified folding park chairs in the background.

As far as the overall story goes, it’s pretty trash. The initial mystery is fine, if starting with an incredibly dumb premise. Having the two stories, one of the Picard gang, and the other on the Borg ship, was fine in concept, but the execution didn’t work, because the characters in the Borg plot were not the sort that people want to watch: you have an alien ship, in alien territory, with lots of ethical implications as to what they’re doing, and yet that is all just background to soap opera drama.

Actually, that’s a good illustration of the entire show: all this possibly-cool stuff going on, and it’s all merely non-context to poorly-written melodrama. This didn’t need to be Trek: it could have been any modern sci-fi drama if you changed the names. Hell, change it to fantasy, just replacing the spaceships with waterships, and Borg with zombies (that would actually fit the state of the reclaimed Borg better…). Literally the only stuff that requires some knowledge of past Trek is the Borg stuff, and the characters of Locutus, Riker, Data, and Troi. (Maddox and Picard may as well be completely different people.) And as far as the character knowledge goes, the only Trek you’d need to watch was the movie Nemesis – it’s clear that’s the only Trek any of the main writers watched in full (they skimmed First Contact too, for the Borg stuff). All the rest of the Trek references could have been gleaned from wiki articles.

All of that is sad. I had some small hopes for the series at first, but they were all dashed to pieces. It’s dreck, and insulting to fans like me on top of that. STD could at least be slightly excused by being a prequel, but this is a direct sequel to Nemesis, and should have at least been somewhat respectful of that. It was marketed to TNG fans, and yet there’s nothing there for them.

Star Trek Lower Decks Episode 3 Review

I just have to say, this is the best Star Trek since Enterprise.

Not that that’s a hard bar to get over. Like, the bar is digging into the ground. But still, it’s nice to see improvement. And improvement this is. I don’t know if the show will keep this level of quality (probably not), but I hope it does, or even keeps improving.

This episode is “OK”. (Last one was “Meh,” the first was “Bad”.) There were scenes (plural) here that are funnier than the entirety of the last two episodes combined. This was not a laugh riot by any measure, but it had some good gags. There’s still a bit too much of that modern ironic-absurdist humor that I’m not terribly fond of (I like my absurdism old-fashioned), but at least most of the rest of the humor feels appropriate for a Trek show.

A big part of the success of this episode is that there is simply Mariner. Sure, she is still the Mary Sue; even though she gets taken down a peg, she’s still completely right in everything she says (it’s only that someone outdoes her at her own shtick, after giving a lecture – to a superior officer – about her shtick). Also, Boimler is able to do his thing without Mariner being right there. Part of the problem is that Mariner absolutely overshadows and humiliates Boimler in every instance, so him being without her lets him shine in his own way. (Now, if they’d only let that happen with her.)

I also appreciated that the show lets the senior staff not look like a bunch of baffoons (excepting the captain). Ransom, the XO, might be a Kirk/Riker knockoff, but he shows how he was able to rise in rank. The rest of the senior staff also shows their competence, in smaller ways.


Today’s Blaugust prompt is from JamiesVlogUK:

What piece of content would you most like to have a sequel or reboot?

There are two easy answers for me. The first, as you might have guessed from the top picture, is Deus Ex. That needs another sequel. Or rather, Mankind Divided needs to be finished. Squenix thought they could jump onto the “episodic” game bandwagon, and deliver, at most, 2/3 of a story, with some added multiplayer game modes to keep the players satisfied. This didn’t work. No matter how good that piece of a story game it is, it’s not complete, and this time the players didn’t bite. Which led to Squenix basically cancelling the series. Which sucks, because Mankind Divided was the first Deus Ex sequel to even come close to the first game.

The second is going to be a little different: Star Trek. Star Trek needs to be rebooted. But, you might say, it’s been rebooted once, maybe twice in the last decade or so. True, but it’s all sucked, and sucked hard. Only the first reboot film, in 2009, at least managed to be fun while sucking, which means watching it wasn’t a chore. Maybe Lower Decks can bring back the feeling of real Trek. (I hear the latest episode might actually be decent; the clips I’ve seen are funnier themselves than the last two episodes put together, at least.) But I want a return to form: sci-fi shows set on a military space thingy where the future is hopeful, but weird and dangerous stuff happens. Also having good writing and characters would be good too. We don’t have any of that now.

This is a great image.

Lower Decks Episode 2: A Short Review

This episode is better than the last one. It’s funnier (I laughed twice). Mariner is slightly less annoying. This is far less of a parody and more a straight comedy. If I must give a rating, it’s Meh. (Last episode would be rated Bad.)

Again, Mariner is the worst part of the episode. As I said, she isn’t as annoying, but she still is. Her major character flaw from the first episode, her dangerously impulsive nature, is gone. Now she’s merely a free spirit. But she moves extremely squarely in Mary Sue territory. The only time she does something strictly wrong, it’s [spoiler] not actually wrong, but just helping her buddy out.

The other thing that continues to bug me is that they keep Boimler (or whatever his name is) as the buttmonkey. It’s one thing to take the uptight prick down a peg or two, but he isn’t that. They just won’t give this guy a break. His main job just seems to be making Mariner look better by comparison. He’s obviously also supposed to be in the straightman role, but the point of the straightman is that they are usually correct/right, and that never happens for this character.

I still don’t know who this show is for. The humor is quite immature, and not particularly smart. Not that this is a bad thing in and of itself (that top pic is one of those times I laughed), but CBS is trying to market this show as a proper Trek show (not the for-kids cartoon), and Trek fans skew older, more mature. It’s trying to catch that Rick and Morty audience, but they won’t want to watch this, I’d bet. It’s too Trek, and we know that isn’t very popular right now, despite all the money being thrown at it. Once again, it’s clear that Trek fans made this show – you can’t make the above pic by just skimming Memory Alpha (which is how STD and Picard were written). But other Trek fans don’t really want to watch this either.

This was the other time I laughed, but I figure there are maybe only 200 people in the entire world that know why.


Today’s Blaugust prompt (brought to us by Heather at Just Geeking By) is:

What are the things that get you excited in life?

I’m going to be honest here: this was really hard. Sure, one or two of these won’t surprise anyone who’s been reading the blog at all, but beyond the obvious? I just don’t know. Lately, a lot of things that used to animate me…don’t. But, I will persevere.


I love pizza. Really love it. I eat it as much as I can, which is obvious looking at my physique. Up there is a picture from one of my favorite places, Shakey’s. Haters gonna hate, but I love that style for some reason. But I love pretty much all pizza. Deep dish, paper-thin, lots of toppings, just cheese, whatever, I love it. Sure, there are pizzas I don’t like, and I of course have my preferences, but pizza is one of those things that excites me, just thinking about it. I look forward with great anticipation every pizza day, all week.

I don’t remember if I actually was the one that took the image on the right, but I was definitely the one who analysed the data to make it.

When I was a kid I really loved space. Then I kinda grew out of it; or perhaps more accurately, lost exposure. Your typical high school just doesn’t focus on that. When I went back to uni I took a 101 course in Astronomy, as an easy elective for my Physics degree. Sure, it was that, but it rekindled my excitement for astronomy. I took a few more astronomy classes, but reigned it in, as I needed to eventually graduate. But I figured I’d take the rest of my science electives in astronomy. Unfortunately, the timing didn’t work out for that (some classes only offered a certain semester, which were gatekeeper classes for more stuff, etc.), but I did get to do some actual work and research with the telescope, which was awesome (even though I had a 4am shift for work…). If I had to do it again, I’d skip out on Physics, and go into Astronomy.

Star Trek

This was one of the obvious ones. Hell, I named my blog after Trek. I love Star Trek to death. Good Trek, that is. Or even mediocre Trek. But not the bad stuff. That’s part of why I haven’t been able to get excited about much lately: one of my greatest loves is just plain bad, and has been for most things since Enterprise ended about 15 years ago. All the new official canon is bad or terrible. Can’t get that thrill anymore about any announcements, because all that can come of that is disappointment. At least the old stuff is still there, and I love talking about that at every opportunity. I even still play STO, despite it going the way of the dog too.

Gacha Game Stories

I like game stories in general. I know most game writers aren’t the best, but I tend to like them anyways. I of course get most excited for RPG’s, because they usually have the most, and best, story. But I put gacha games here in focus because they deliver on a regular basis. Sure, they tend to be merely context for image and sound files for whatever gameplay there is, but that’s what I love about it. As I said, I’m not expecting an epic, or a classic, but just something decent (in fact, in a future post – maybe tomorrow – I’ll talk about some things that would improve the stories in a couple of games I play). I like the background. I like the context. I like that they are short. And I love the delivery schedule the best. The games I play deliver some new story or another at least once a month. Even MMO’s generally take several months between story content updates; they might be meatier in comparison, but they’re just as disposable. In an earlier era, I’d probably be the guy devouring every pulp sci-fi magazine; these gacha game stories are a modern equivalent, I think. And, as I posted towards the beginning of the month, I really dislike it when people just dismiss the stories as trash, without engaging with them. Tell me why you think it’s trash. I just want to talk about these, have a discussion, theorycraft, worldbuild, headcanon, I don’t even care what you think as long as we’re talking. That’s exciting.

Star Trek Lower Decks Ep 1: Review

It wasn’t terrible. It’s got that going for it. Of course, Picard also wasn’t terrible in the first episode, and showed some promise.

I went into this thinking it’d be quite terrible. Not only was the art completely uninspiring of confidence in quality (generic calarts garbage), but the trailer was quite attrocious. About 90% of that was in this first episode, but fortunately the worst parts of the trailer weren’t here, and the trailer didn’t deliver the top jokes (though obviously it thought it would). And it seemed like it would be the generic modern comedy cartoon, which is something I don’t want in a Trek show.

It actually was that last thing. I still don’t want that in a Trek show. This didn’t feel like a Trek comedy show, but rather a parody of Trek, like you’d see on Family Guy or Robot Chicken (the similarities to Rick and Morty aren’t just in the art). I don’t like that sort of manic, frantic, silly humor (that still somehow manages to stretch a joke too long much of the time) generally, and I don’t think it fits with the Star Trek aesthetic. Trek has done comedy, sometimes even being funny, so it’s not like Trek has to be serious. But this isn’t it.

All that I could tolerate, though, if it weren’t for the main character. Mariner is by far the most annoying character on the show, but she’s obviously supposed to be sympathetic, at least as far as a modern comedy lead is allowed to be. She’s made out to be a Michael Burnham, but “funny”. But Burnham was a big part of what makes STD bad, and Mariner follows that trend. She’s a headstrong, manic, stubborn woman who’s nevertheless always in the right – she’s only rebelling against the stuffy regulations, after all. She’s contrasted with, and in conflict with, the senior staff, who are all jerkoffs, so you know she’s in the right, even if you’d rather she disappeared from your screen forever. This show might even be decent, if it weren’t for her. I don’t see her get any better.

Since it didn’t completely put me off in the first episode, I’ll give it at least a couple more, see if it turns out. I always hope that these new shows will turn out ok – that they’ve learned from their mistakes, and improved and made something better. My hopes are constantly dashed, but Trek is about hope for a better future. So here I am.

Most (and Least) Rewatchable Treks

Lorerunner is putting together his end-of-rumination-series videos for TNG and DS9, and asked his viewers to vote for the most-rewatchable and least-rewatchable episodes for those shows. At least that’s how I interpreted the inquiry. Since I wasn’t watching his stuff back when he was doing Voyager, and he hasn’t done TOS or Enterprise yet, I figure I’ll just make my own list for all of the real Trek series that I’ve seen – so everything besides The Animated Series (which only had one season, so I don’t think it’d be worth it to make such a list anyways).

Again, this is a most (or least) rewatchable list, not a list of the best or my most favorite. Sure, there might be some overlap, but some of those episodes are really heavy, or might be part of two-parters where I don’t necessarily want to watch the other part, stuff like that. My thought process is: if I were going to, say, donate platelets, and was stuck watching something for an hour or so, what episodes would I take with me? And what would I absolutely never bring? I’ll start the list of Most Rewatchable, then make the list of Least Rewatchable:

Most Rewatchable

  • The Enterprise Incident – A fun heist show, and the Romulan Captain is hot.
  • Whom Gods Destroy – Garth is fun to watch every time.
  • Balance of Terror – This is just a great episode, and the drama never gets old.
  • The City on the Edge of Forever – Besides being one of the best episodes in the franchise, I really like the “fish out of water” aspect; this will come up again and again.
  • Patterns of force – The Nazi episode, great fun.
  • Tapestry – Picard and Q interactions at their best.
  • The Chase – Good lore, and a fun episode about science, with all the major races participating.
  • First Contact – A look from the other side of things; I like when the format is different (this will come up a lot too).
  • Relics – It’s got Scotty, what more do you want?
  • Face of the Enemy – Troi actually gets to do something major? And it’s good? Sign me up!
  • Duet – This is my favorite episode, and I can rewatch it so much. Great acting, and important lore.
  • In The Pale Moonlight – Again, doing something different. Very snappy pacing, and great payoff in the end.
  • Trials and Tribbleations – This is just great fun.
  • In The Cards – Right before things get serious, a comedy episode that works.
  • Little Green Men – Another time travel episode, this time with Ferengi. The best stuff.
  • Distant Origin – A VOY episode not primarily about Voyager and its crew? And Chakotay gets to do stuff? Neat!
  • Non Sequitur – Repeat the above, but with Harry.
  • Message in a Bottle – Repeat the above, but with the Doctor, and another doctor, and another ship.
  • False Profits – More Ferengi means more fun.
  • Dragon’s Teeth – Good to see the Voyager crew get what’s coming to them for once. Also a good lore ep for STO.
  • Carbon Creek – Not really time travel, but may as well be. Vulcans in 50’s America? Nice.
  • First Flight – Again, doing something different and fun, and good lore.
  • The Andorian Incident – Shran is the man, and Vulcans get wrekt.
  • The Catwalk – Different settings like this can be quite fun.
  • Terra Prime – Great episode all around, and one of those rare two-parters where the second part is better than the first (and mostly can stand alone, which is why it’s here).

Least Rewatchable

  • Miri – Kids in Trek is almost always bad.
  • Assignment: Earth – As a kid I loved this, but it’s just not Trek (almost literally, if you know the background).
  • And the Children Shall Lead – Again, kids.
  • The Galileo Seven – Eh, just hard to watch, and not good.
  • The Omega Glory – Pure cringe.
  • Sub Rosa – Ghost sex, in my Star Trek? More likely than you might think!
  • Shades of Grey – Hate clip shows.
  • Devil’s Due – Fake supernatural stuff is the worst.
  • Code of Honor – Season 1 is weird and bad, and this is the worst of it.
  • The Outrageous Okona – Intentional comedy rarely works in Trek, and this is the worst.
  • Meridian – Boring as hell.
  • The Muse – Same
  • Accession – Same
  • Distant Voices – I really don’t like this sort of mind trip episode.
  • Whispers – Worst of the Torture O’Brien episodes.
  • The Chute – Don’t like the “We’re in jail” episodes, where the point is they’re in jail (as opposed to constant flashbacks as to why they’re in jail).
  • 11:59 – One of those “out of time” episodes that doesn’t work in any way, AND is boring as hell.
  • Tsunkatse – WWF crossover in my Star Trek?
  • Spirit Folk – Boring holodeck bs with boring holodeck malfunction bs. Gross.
  • Shattered – Just don’t care.
  • A Night in Sickbay – Just absolutely terrible.
  • These Are the Voyages… – Same
  • Cogenitor – Character-breaking propaganda episode, even more cringe than The Omega Glory.
  • Dear Doctor – Prime Directive episodes are usually skips, and this is the worst of them.
  • Observer Effect – I’m a bit of a hypochondriac, and this ep is pure nightmare fuel. Also, not good to make up for that.

Alex Kurtzman Says Something Correct, For Once

I was reading an article about how Star Trek Picard is no good, very bad, and awful (which is true), and something towards the beginning really stuck out. It quotes Alex Kurtzman, destroyer of franchises, currently showrunning (into the ground) the Star Trek franchise. And, to my great shock, the words quoted actually were true! Just about had a heart attack, I did. So, what did he say? For those of you who didn’t click through and read the article:

If you really want Star Trek to reach people, then you’ve got to start young.

This is 110% true. Star Trek is a dying franchise. Almost literally: the bulk of the fanbase – or at least those willing to spend money – are 50+. There’s a reason the conventions are so expensive. There’s a reason there’s Star Trek: The Cruise. It’s all old folks. I figure I’m at the lower end – and I’m in my 30’s! To avoid the inevitable end of the fanbase, it needs to be replenished. You do have to start young.

Most of those old guys still going to conventions? They started young. Many with syndicated reruns of OG Trek, or with the old movies. People of my generation probably started with TNG. I’ve been watching since I was a baby: my parents were both into it, and were watching TNG as it started. My dad even had (almost) the complete collection of the TOS VHS collection, back when that was really expensive (buying physical copies of Trek shows has always been quite expensive for some reason). I still have some of those Micro Machines ship toys.

HOWEVER, that’s not what Kurtzman is actually doing. When he talks about young, he’s not talking about kids. He’s talking about folks in their 20’s. Adults. You can’t build a strong fanbase out of adults, not for something like Trek. It almost requires starting from very young. That was the thing with old Trek: it was for the whole family. Kids could watch and enjoy. So could their parents, older siblings, and everyone. Modern Trek is for people in their 20’s and older. It’s the exact opposite of family friendly. You can’t get small kids watching and enjoying this. (And really, most adults wouldn’t enjoy it either.)

That’s a big problem with Trek right now: it’s looking for a new fanbase, when what it needs to do is grow its fanbase. Current Trek is not for kids, and it’s not for old fans. The creators actively spit in the faces of old fans, yet don’t create a quality product that will actually get them that new fanbase they’re desperately hoping to get.

And even then, they’re chasing the wrong demo. Trek, like many franchises, lives on its merchandise sales. Have you seen any real STD or Picard merch? Or heck, even the stuff from the most recent movies? No, not really. Certainly not in stores, not even the specialty stuff. I remember being in university, going to Wal Mart, and seeing Trek stuff. No longer. Any merch still being sold is of the older Treks. Companies now won’t even license stuff, since it won’t sell. The old guys with money don’t want it, and the new audience – such as it is – isn’t the sort to buy that kind of stuff. Kids of course don’t want it, since they don’t even know the franchise exists.

So, Kurtzman said the right words, but he didn’t mean them in the right way. Indeed, his idea, as usual, was completely wrong and backward.