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:
“To the Death”
Renegade Jem’Hadar are trying to open up a gateway that will allow them to get to anywhere they like. Sisko must team up with Weyoun and a group of loyal Jem’Hadar to stop them. As they try to integrate the crews for the mission, it doesn’t go well. Worf, in particular, is targeted by the Jem’Hadar in tests of strength. When the disobedience comes to a front, the Jem’Hadar first kills the instigator, and demands Sisko do the same to Worf. When Sisko refuses, the Jem’Hadar threatens to kill Sisko. On the actual mission, Sisko ends up saving the First, showing him something of Starfleet’s own way of living. They manage to destroy the Gateway and the Jem’Hadar part with the Starfleet people after executing Weyoun for questioning their loyalty.
“To the Death” is a complex, action-packed episode that shows just how intense DS9 episodes can get. The stakes are super high, and believable because we don’t know enough about the Jem’Hadar to doubt it. The integration of crews is a stretch but could be seen as Starfleet being Starfleet and not being aggressive about their enemies. I like the escalation of threat throughout the episode. We know there’s no way these two groups can be together without conflict, but the way it escalates is great. I especially like Worf being center of attention for the Jem’Hadar, because it plays to so many narratives happening around both Klingons and Jem’Hadar.
Having Weyoun get killed was really surprising, too. It’s a fascinating look at how the Jem’Hadar operate that they were so upset by his questioning of their loyalty that they would go to such an extreme rejoinder. Overall, this is a great episode with lots of adventure. It scores lower on the “believable” aspects, but that’s fine, it’s Star Trek.
Grade: A- “Intense and heavy-hitting, it’s a thrilling episode all the way through.”
Wife’s Grade and Comment: B+ “It wasn’t particularly memorable, but I liked it.”
Kira, Dax, and Bashir get to a plant where they discover the local populace has been punished by the Dominion by being inflicted with a disease that manifests as black lesions working across their bodies until one day it kills them. Bashir is desperate to help, especially when he discovers the local doctor basically just euthanizes people as they request it due to the pain of the disease. However, when it turns out his medical equipment is actually hastening the onset of the disease, Bashir loses the trust of the people. When all seems lost, he manages to demonstrate that his treatment, though ineffective on the disease itself, actually acts as a vaccine and can deliver the next generation from the illness. The episode closes with Bashir still finding cures ineffective, longing to cure the people and Sisko telling him that the next generation will be the hope for the people.
Bashir… is… awesome. I already loved him, but this episode was one long Bashir love-fest of showing the range of his emotions, skills, and the depth of his concern for others. The plot is basic, yes, but it serves as a fantastic setup so that we can see what Bashir will do when confronted with what seems like an unbeatable scenario. And he does win! But only kind of. And he’s distraught, and it is bittersweet, and it is beautiful and I love it.
There’s a kind of horrifying hope built into the episode. You as a viewer just know that Bashir will succeed, such that when he doesn’t, it is especially crushing. And seeing him also crushed is poignant and raw. It’s true that Bashir did save the people, but what of everyone alive now? They just have to last… and give the next generation hope. Powerful.
Grade: A+ “Heart-rending but hopeful, ‘The Quickening’ is a fantastic episode not just of DS9 but of television generally.”
Wife’s Grade and Comment: A “It was sad, but great.”
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!
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