I’ve completed my re-watch of “Star Trek: The Next Generation.” Now it’s time to start Deep Space Nine! I am much less familiar with this show, though I’m pretty sure I’ve seen about 80-90% of the episodes. It’s been so long that I’m sure it will all feel brand new. My wife has never seen the show. She and I will go through, review every episode, and give commentary and a grade from A-F. There are SPOILERS for each episode below. Without further adieu, here’s:
Kira and Bashir pick up Kobliad distress signal and go to help There, they discover Ty Kajada, and her prisoner Rao Vantika. Vantika has sabotaged the ship. As Bashir tries to stabilize Vantika, the man grabs his neck threateningly and seemingly dies. Back on DS9, a starfleet officer, Primmin, has been assigned to help establish security for a shipment of rare material. Things start going wrong, and Kajada blames Vantika, despite it seeming clear he is dead. However, Vantika’s belongings show he has been researching brains and how to transfer consciousness. It seems Kajada might be the carrier, but instead it turns out Bashir has been taken over. He takes over the ship with the rare material, threatening to kill the crew. Kira manages to figure out a way to disrupt Vantika’s psychic control over Bashir, and htey trap his conscious self in a small data disc. That disc is given to Kajada, who summarily executes Vantika’s consciousness.
Whew. That was a lot to summarize. This is one of those episodes where you will enjoy it best by simply ignoring everything that makes no sense whatsoever and just letting the explanations stand as they are given. Even a cursory examination of how things work in the universe seems to throw discredit on the notion that Vantika could take over Bashir’s brain (different species, mind you) just because he studied human brains (why did he do so? was he expecting to take over humans instead of those of his own species?) and had some goop under his nails. But really, the core of the episode is quite good. It’s one of those Indiana-Jones like episodes of rip-roaring adventure that you expect more from The Original Series or TNG if you let Riker stay in charge for too long.
In other words, this episode was pretty fun. I didn’t guess Bashir as the Vantika-slave until very close to it being revealed, and when I did guess it, it made a lot of sense. They used all kinds of space magic to make the episode work, but when it came to the mystery itself, enough seeds were planted that you could figure it out on your own if you paid attention. That’s what sold me on this one. Yes, it’s full of holes, but yes, it’s also fun.
Grade: B+ “They kept me guessing with the rabbit trails, but there were too many holes to take it as seriously as needed.”
Wife’s Grade and Comment: A- “They made good use of the characters and a few epic red herrings. Overall, highly enjoyable.”
“Move Along Home”
Sisko and crew prepare for first contact with the Wadi, a group of people from the Gamma Quandrant. Turns out they just want to play games, though. After trying to stay up all night partying with the Wadi, Sisko and others give up, leaving Quark to entertain. Bad idea, as Quark almost immediately cheats them. He gets caught, and they challenge him to a “fair” game called chula. This game features four units and random challenges with increasing prizes. Quark likes it, but even he loses some gusto for the game when he discovers the player pieces are really Sisko, Bashir, Kira, and Dax facing challenges that are quite dangerous. He manages to lose (!) in the end, but turns out it really was just a game and the “players” are unhurt.
Apparently this is one of the more hated episodes of the early seasons of DS9, but I found it pretty enjoyable. That dang kid’s rhyme has been stuck in my head for days, though. In fact, searching that rhyme on Bing yielded the following in the top results: “Allamaraine, in your head, allamaraine, until you’re dead.” Yep.
This is also the first episode of DS9 to feature a game as a central feature, a theme that recurs throughout Star Trek. Games = nefarious in some way. It’s not quite 3D chess in that I actually want to go get it and play it, but it is kind of a cool concept, even if it is completely nonsensical and the rules are never explained at all. Wait, that makes it sound kind of terrible. Also, the whole thing appeared like just decided to make the movie Labyrinth into an episode of DS9. But Labyrinth is a cool movie, so…
The idea of first contact with a species that pretty much doesn’t take anything seriously… except games. I mean, at some point you gotta figure the Federation would realize they have no clue what they’re going to run into and shouldn’t even bother with a playbook. Moreover, the ending was pretty satisfying. Turns out sometimes games are just games! I liked this one, even if Allamaraine will forever haunt the corners of my subconscious.
Grade: B+ “It’s like they decided to make ‘Labyrinth’ into a DS9 Episode. Great ending.”
Wife’s Grade and Comment: B+ “It was enjoyable, but nothing extraordinary.”
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