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:
A terrorist attack on earth is revealed to have been the work of a Shapeshifter and Jake Sisko, Captain Sisko, and Odo go to Earth for both a family visit (Siskos) and to help increase security against Odo’s people. They also interact with Nog, who is at Starfleet Academy. Nog wants Sisko’s help to become part of Red Squad at the academy. Captain Sisko begins to give into the paranoia of the age, even starting to suspect his father of being a Changeling. He realizes that he has become quite paranoid, but ultimately helps usher in serious security increases, and the episode ends with Starfleet beaming security forces across Earth; the war has come home.
It’s kind of hard to decide how I feel about this episode. It’s intense, but it seems as though it steps up the intensity too easily or with too few “real” consequences. I thought Captain Sisko was portrayed as far too paranoid for how he normally acts, though the episode conveyed the feeling of paranoia pretty well across the board. I enjoyed seeing Sisko at home on Earth, but it was overshadowed by strange paranoia of the Captain.
I do appreciate the sense of broadening conflict and how the Changelings would attempt to infiltrate major points of influence. However, I’m torn about both the ease and lack of broadening of this policy. If it is this easy to get a Changeling to Earth, why not send more than one and truly take things over? But if there are difficulties, why not wait until the maximum impact can be had rather than using it to attack a diplomatic process? It’s like there are conflicting notions of the capabilities, numbers, and limits of the Changelings.
Nevertheless, this was an interesting episode even if it did take place too swiftly.
Grade: B- “It’s intense, but it feels as though some of the changes happen to quickly or dramatically.”
Wife’s Grade and Comment: B+ “I enjoyed it, but found some of the plot implausible.”
Sisko and Nog uncover a plot to take over the Federation from within. Admiral Leyton has been planning a coup, but the higher authorities do not believe Sisko. Sisko now enlists Nog’s help in finding out more information behind the conspiracy and Red Squad’s involvement in it. The conspirators manage to set Sisko up to fail a blood test and get revealed as a Changeling. Admiral Leyton admits to Sisko he set him up. Sisko manages to escape, however, and the Defiant brings conclusive evidence against Leyton after a standoff with another Starfleet ship.
Another episode where too much happens with not enough buildup. It feels a little bit like the season finale for TNG’s first season, where we find that the whole of Starfleet is taken over by weird bug things. Here, it’s a vast conspiracy that somehow snuck under the radar for far longer than seems believable. There are too many moving parts to bring them all to satisfying conclusions, as well.
Fake O’Brien showing up to mock Sisko was an interesting touch, though.
Reading the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, it is apparent the budget wasn’t what they wanted it to be for this episode, which may have helped flesh out some key scenes, or at least have made it more believable. Also, this episode along with the previous one was apparently intended to be the break between seasons 3 and 4, which would have both upped its budget and possibly the way they wrote it (could it have broader reaching implications?).
Overall, this two part episode didn’t satisfy as much as I think the frustrated writers/everyone involved wanted it to. It’s a case of being forced into a box when the episode could have broken out. But we have to judge what’s here, and that’s still a pretty competent and interesting episode. It’s just one that is frustratingly short of what I’d like it to be.
Grade: B- “Too much happening in too little time.”
Wife’s Grade and Comment: B+ “It seemed out of character for Starfleet, but I enjoyed it.”
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