Star Trek: Lower Decks‘s “The Least Dangerous Game”

Boimler decides to start saying “yes” to things! Tendi has good advice! Ransom starts tormenting Mariner! Rutherford and Billups are nearly sacrificed to a volcano god by a telepathic baby and a sentient computer! More Kimolu and Matt! And J.G. Hertzler is back as Martok — kinda. My review of the latest Star Trek: Lower Decks episode, “The Least Dangerous Game.”

An excerpt:

They arrive in the nick of time, as the Dulanians, as ordered by their co-leaders, a telepathic baby and a sentient computer, are about to sacrifice the engineers to their volcano god. (Mariner’s comment: “Wow, psychic baby, evil computer, and a volcano? You guys never heard of overkill?”) But Ransom saves the day by ripping his shirt off and showing off his washboard abs to the Dulanians—who, as previously established, are wellness-based.

I’m enjoying the hell out of Ransom fulfilling the stereotype of the white-guy leading man action-hero-type, embodying the worst aspects of Kirk, Riker, Paris, and Archer and turning them up to eleven. Him saving the day with his mighty mighty pecs is just perfect.

Star Trek: Enterprise Rewatch: “The Catwalk”

Okay, it’s not really that great an episode, but I enjoyed myself while watching it, and it was so much better than the previous week’s (and indeed, most of the recent ones). The Star Trek: Enterprise Rewatch was probably overly generous, but dammit enjoyed, “The Catwalk.”

An excerpt:

It’s funny, I was watching this episode and really grooving on it, but when I wrote it up, I was having a hard time remembering why I liked it so much. I think part of it is how dreadful “Precious Cargo” was than anything, but also the script and direction were brisk and top-notch. I also have to admit that the episode sold me when Mayweather mentioned the need for a latrine in the catwalk. Trek’s aversion to even acknowledging that bathrooms exist is often fodder for humor (justifiably so), so this was a welcome reminder of one of the many difficulties of cramming everyone into an access walkway for a week.

Star Trek: Enterprise Rewatch: “Precious Cargo”

It’s a stultifyingly paint-by-numbers story as Tucker is kidnapped alongside an alien princess and much wackiness ensues. Except it isn’t wacky, it’s just dull. Plus Archer and T’Pol act like idiots. The Star Trek: Enterprise Rewatch has some “Precious Cargo.”

An excerpt:

I mean, it’s not mind-destroyingly bad like, say, “And the Children Shall Lead” or “Sub Rosa” or “Profit and Lace” or “Fair Haven,” it’s just kind of a bland kind of bad. Every moment is telegraphed a mile off, with no kind of charm or character stuff to ameliorate it. Tucker is a stereotypical dude, Kaitaama is a stereotypical arrogant aristocrat who grouses about the crude dude only to smooch him later. We’ve seen this a billion times before, from The Taming of the Shrew to “Elaan of Troyius,” and this is a particularly uninteresting example of the breed. Padma Lakshmi brings nothing of interest to the role, coming across as a third-rate France Nuyen or a sixth-rate Elizabeth Taylor. Connor Trinneer says all the lines he’s supposed to say in this, which is about the best you can say for him. His harmonica playing at the top of the episode is the only surprise in the episode, and since Trinneer’s so very obviously not really playing the harmonica, that isn’t even all that fun.

Star Trek: Enterprise Rewatch: “Vanishing Point”

Sato goes through the transporter for the first time, and it’s not a pleasant experience at all. Neither is watching this tired slog of an episode. The Star Trek: Enterprise Rewatch reaches a “Vanishing Point.”

An excerpt:

Oddly, the thing that annoyed me most was the name Cyrus Ramsey. Hoshi Sato is from Japan. She was teaching in Argentina when we first met her. Yet her subconscious comes up with an aggressively white-guy name for this person who had a transporter accident. Mostly because this script was by Rick Berman and Brannon Braga, the co-creators and by far the most prolific writers on this show, and if Enterprise has shown us nothing else, it’s that their world is mostly populated by white guys.

4-Color to 35-Millimeter: Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

The second Doctor Strange movie in the MCU was hugely anticipated by your humble rewatcher, especially since it had Sam Raimi returning to superhero films. The end result is a crushing disappointment, mainly due to it perpetuating the character assassination of the Scarlet Witch that started in the comics in 1989. The great superhero movie rewatch joins Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.

An excerpt:

Because all the men responsible for this movie can think to do with Wanda Maximoff is make her the mother from hell, turning a grieving character struggling toward heroism in several previous movies and a TV series into a mass-murderer who will commit any depraved acts necessary as long as she can be a mother. Because that’s all the ladies really want, am I right, fellas?

When I first saw the movie, it wasn’t bothering me as much, because I know from the comics how foul the influence of the Darkhold can be, but this movie doesn’t do nearly enough to sell it. Maximoff’s redemption arc is weakly done, and requires her to kill herself, which is just horrible. It’s especially galling after the complex meditation on grief that was WandaVision. To have the character be so completely capital-E evil this time is disappointing, lazy, and not fair to a character who was finally given some depth on Disney+, only to be shit upon in the cinema. It’s a bad look for a cinematic universe that has already shit upon Gamora, the Black WidowMay Parker, and Jane Foster in recent movies, not to mention the sidelining of the Wasp in favor of the much-less-interesting Ant-Man and taking way too long to have a movie headlined by a woman.

Star Trek: Enterprise Rewatch: “Singularity

Enterprise flies toward a singularity, and it makes almost the entire crew go binky-bonkers obsessive. Luckily, Vulcans are unaffected, or it would be a much shorter episode… The Star Trek: Enterprise Rewatch flies toward a “Singularity.”

An excerpt:

I’m disappointed that they contrived for Chef to be sick so it’s Sato doing the crazed cooking thing, mostly because this would’ve been a great opportunity to finally see Chef. (That’s a personal thing—I’ve never been fond of the person-always-mentioned-but-never-seen trope.) Still, Linda Park has fun with it, as does Connor Trinneer with his goofy-ass add-all-the-things mien which makes him sound—well, like an engineer, truly. Still, both of them don’t go nearly as far as they could with it. Dominic Keating’s a bit too over-the-top as the obsessive Reed, where Scott Bakula is to under-the-top with Archer’s trying so hard to do justice to his old man.

Jolene Blalock does fine trying to hold the ship together, as she really is the only grownup on board this time, but I wish we’d gotten a bit more of the sass that we often saw from Leonard Nimoy and Tim Russ when the humans were human-ing a bit too much on the original series and Voyager.

The only performance that hits the bullseye is, as usual, John Billingsley. Phlox never entirely loses his friendly affect, which makes his experimenting on Mayweather way scarier.

4-Color to 35-Millimeter: Morbius

Jared Leto, hot on the heels of his uninspired Joker in Suicide Squad, now gives us an even more uninspired Morbius, the Living Vampire. Even Matt Smith’s scenery-chewing isn’t enough to save this slog of a movie, which isn’t even bad enough to be fun. Sigh. The great superhero movie rewatch does Morbius so you don’t have to.

An excerpt:

His banter with Matt Smith’s Milo is fun in the early parts of the movie, before the plot kicks in, and if the movie was just Leto and Smith limping through Manchester-disguised-as-New York and snarking at each other, it would’ve been a lot more fun. But that’s dispensed with in fairly short order, and most of the movie is a desultory checking off of all the boxes of an action-adventure movie, and doing so in as sodden a manner as possible. For instance, I knew Milo was going to kill Nicholas pretty much from the nanosecond it was established that Nicholas was the adult Milo’s caretaker, which was less than an hour into the film, and since neither Jared Harris nor the script bothered to imbue him with any kind of personality, it was hard to give a damn when the inevitable finally happened.

Star Trek: Enterprise Rewatch: “The Communicator”

Reed leaves his communicator behind on a primitive planet, and much wackiness ensues. Actually, it’s not that wacky, which is part of the problem. Too bad he didn’t enable the “find my phone” feature. The Star Trek: Enterprise Rewatch looks for “The Communicator.”

An excerpt:

Ye flipping gods, what a boring episode. Trek has done this type of story many times before, where the crew has to deal with a pre-warp society and do their best not to influence it (not always successfully) and remove their technology (again, not always successfully), from the original series’ “Tomorrow is Yesterday” to TNG’s “First Contact” to SNW’s “Strange New Worlds,” and “The Communicator” is by far the least interesting iteration of this particular plot.

4-Color to 35-Millimeter: The Batman

We get another reinterpretation of ol’ Bats, this time a relative newbie played by Robert Pattinson. Better yet, we’ve got a Batman movie that remembers why he debuted in Detective Comics. The great superhero movie rewatch looks at The Batman.

An excerpt:

The acting is stupendous here. Nobody ever went wrong casting Jeffrey Wright in anything, and he just kills it as Gordon. Zoë Kravitz is an extremely worthy addition to the pantheon of great live-action Catwomen alongside Newmar, Meriwether, Kitt, Pfeiffer, Bicondova, and Hathaway. Paul Dano is devastating as the most psychotic iteration of the Riddler yet, Colin Farrell is barely recognizable as he plays the Penguin as a goombah gangster right out of a Scorsese film, and John Turturro practically steals the movie as the sunglasses-wearing Falcone, who just oozes pure nastiness.

Star Trek: Enterprise Rewatch: “The Seventh”

T’Pol goes on a secret mission to track down a renegade Vulcan played by Bruce Davison, and it winds up reawakening some rather unpleasant memories. The Star Trek: Enterprise Rewatch looks at “The Seventh.”

An excerpt:

One of the things these rewatches have done is make me appreciate certain aspects of the shows that I didn’t really get when watching them the first time through when they initially aired, whether good (a greater appreciation for the characters of Riker and Chakotay) or bad (liking the character of La Forge a lot less, frustrated by several choices made by DS9’s writing staff in the later seasons).

In the case of Enterprise, it’s a much greater appreciation of both the character of T’Pol and the actor playing her. Jolene Blalock does excellent work here, showing T’Pol’s anguish and confusion and anger. I particularly like a more realistic look at the downside of emotional control: when something emotional does happen, most Vulcans aren’t equipped to deal with it. And I appreciate that the act of killing someone—which is so often treated cavalierly by dramatic fiction—is sufficiently traumatic to affect T’Pol this badly, which is as it should be.