Star Trek: Deep Space 9 Season 1 “The Nagus” and “Vortex”

Well... he's not _that_ heavy!

Well… he’s not _that_ heavy!

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:

“The Nagus”

Synopsis

Grand Nagus Zek, leader of the Ferengi business empire, visits Quark’s and asks to convene a meeting of the Ferengi higher ups. As the meeting goes on to discuss ways to exploit the Gamma Quadrant, Sisko fights with Jake over the influence Nog is having on him. Jake resolves to remain friends with Nog despite the difficulties their friendship faces, and Sisko, discovering that Jake is teaching Nog to read, realizes what a good influence they’re having on each other and relents. Meanwhile, Zek names Quark the future Grand Nagus, just before his own apparent death. As Quark takes on the role of leading the Ferengi, a plot to take the position of Grand Nagus is exposed, and Zek shows himself just as Quark is about to be killed by Quark’s brother, Rom and Krax, Zek’s son. He notes that Krax still has much to learn, but Quark commends Rom for his nefarious plot and makes a new role at the bar for his brother to fill.

Commentary

I think this is a great example of how to make an episode fun. There was character development for Quark even as he stuck to his role. There was a great deal of humor without ever taking away from the seriousness of the plot–difficult to do. Most importantly, it made the Ferengi much less of a joke than they have been so far in the Star Trek universe. This was a pretty fascinating episode, even if some aspects of it were hard sells.

Quark’s role came to the forefront and it is made clear here that his character alone is capable of carrying an episode. That’s an important thing for a show like DS9 to learn early and to succeed at- realizing that individual characters are perhaps just as important as the overarching narrative. Here, the show succeeded dramatically in a funny, breakthrough episode for one of the stars. Making it a clear reference to The Godfather in many ways–including the hilarious scene where Quark mimics Don Corleone from the movie–was an added touch that really sold the whole concept.

Grade: A- “A vastly entertaining episode that is maybe just a little too hard to buy.”

Wife’s Grade and Comment: A- “It was just so fun to see the Ferengi culture. It was also hilarious.”

“Vortex”

Synopsis

When Croden, a newly arrived alien on DS9, gets in a fight with two Maradorns and kills one of them in the ensuing firefight, he is taken into custody by Odo pending trial. However, when Sisko and Kira make first contact with Croden’s homeworld, they demand his immediate return and basically say to leave them alone. Sisko orders Odo to return Croden to his home, where he will certainly be executed. Meanwhile, Croden has been telling Odo he knows more about changelings, giving a name to Odo and hope of the existence of more like him that heretofore he knew nothing about. As Odo transports Croden back home, they are attacked by Ah-Kel, the surviving Maradorn. To escape, Croden takes the controls, ladning them inside the vortex that he hinted Odo might find more of his people. However, there are no more changelings, just Croden’s daughter who had been hidden away in stasis after his family was killed for his alleged crimes. Odo is hurt as they try to flee, but Croden gets him back to the runabout. They manage to destroy Ah-Kel’s ship in the vortex, and are hailed by a Vulcan vessel, to whom Odo gives Croden and his daughter as refugees he found in the vortex.

Commentary

Odo’s character got a ton of development here, and it is the first episode that shows how much potential his character has for the rest of the series. What are changelings? Are there more like Odo? How did he get separated from them? Will they be friendly? These are just a few of the questions that come up in this episode that it would have been difficult to even formulate earlier in the season, because there wasn’t enough that we knew about Odo to ask these questions.

To be fair, there are some real stretches here–how can Odo make himself into a glass that gets broken apart (presumably light enough to carry on a tray) and then have Croden complain about how heavy he is? Where does all that mass go? Answer: don’t ask questions! But I don’t mind those stretches as much when they’re fairly superfluous to the plot.

The plot is the star here, too. Odo is shown to be more than just a hardhearted mean policeman on the station. He has feelings about right and wrong, and a strong sense of justice that transcends laws even among species. Croden’s people are an intriguing aside, but according to the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion by Terry J. Erdmann with Paula M. Block, they never show up again. Oh well. By the way, get that book if you want some really cool facts about the show as we go along.

With “Vortex,” we get hints of how interesting DS9 could shape up to be. Will it pay out dividends or just sink under expectations? We’ll have to keep watching!

Grade: A “Hey, Odo is a character!”

Wife’s Grade and Comment: A “It was really impressive character development for Odo along with an interesting plot to keep things moving.”

Links

J.W. Wartick- Always Have a Reason– Check out my “main site” which talks about philosophy of religion, theology, and Christian apologetics (among other random topics). I love science fiction so that comes up integrated with theology fairly frequently as well. I’d love to have you follow there, too!

Be sure to follow me on Twitter for discussion of posts, links to other pages of interest, random talk about theology/philosophy/apologetics/movies/scifi/sports and more!

Star Trek: DS9- For more episode reviews, follow this site and also click this link to read more (scroll down as needed)! Drop me a comment to let me know what you thought!

SDG.

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