Star Trek: DS9 Season 3 “Through the Looking Glass” and “Improbable Cause”/”The Die is Cast”

Improbable Friendship?

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 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:

“Through the Looking Glass”

Synopsis

O’Brien comes over from the mirror universe first discovered in “Crossover” and kidnaps Sisko, bringing him back to the utterly different universe in which Cardassians, Bajorans, and Klingons work together to conquer the galaxy. He specifically grabbed Sisko because the Sisko in the mirror universe was killed in action rebelling against this coalition. He needs the “real” Sisko to take his counterpart’s place long enough to unite the rebellion and lure his wife (who is alive in this universe) back to the rebels. After some haranguing, Sisko agrees, and he succeeds at getting Jennifer away from the Alliance. His mission complete, he returns to the “real” universe, somewhat saddened by what could have been.

Commentary

When I saw “Crossover,” I assumed it’d be a one-off with no relevance going forward. That’s obviously not the case, though I don’t know if the mirror universe will show up again. This was, I thought, a superb use of the story of the previous episode that managed to avoid some of the flaws of “Crossover” while also strengthening Sisko as a character.

That, perhaps, is the real story of this episode: Sisko’s character development. We all don’t care much about the Mirror Universe–at least I didn’t–because we know it’s not “real” in the sense of the perspective of our characters. Thus, having Sisko go there and really get put through the ringer–his wife showing up alive and on the other side was genius–made me get invested in this episode in a way that “Crossover” couldn’t manage because it was too busy establishing the differences of the Mirror Universe. Here, we get Sisko struggling to deal with his own feelings of guilt, sorrow, and loss while also experiencing some hope. There is an intensely bittersweet taste to the whole thing at the end, with Sisko thinking on what could have been.

The plot of this one is solid too. It’s nothing special, but it is action-packed and exciting enough to get me as a viewer involved in the struggles of parallel characters in that Mirror Universe.

Grade: A-“It was cool to get another look at the alternative universe, and the story was fairly strong.”

Wife’s Grade and Comment: 

“Improbable Cause” and “The Die is Cast”

Synopsis

A two-parter episode. Garak’s shop explodes and Odo investigates, leading to both becoming embroiled in a Romulan plot to kill Garak. As they pursue this lead, they are captured by Romulans who happen to have on board Garak’s former intelligence boss, Enebran Tain. It turns out the Cardassians and Romulans have decided to collaborate to try to end the Dominion threat by destroying the Founders. They bring a combined fleet through the Wormhole and Sisko et al. pursue in the Defiant. Drama ensues when a security officer sabotages the Defiant‘s cloak under orders from a Starfleet admiral, who is trying to let events play out. Meanwhile, Garak is forced to interrogate Odo, leading to a kind of torture in which Odo isn’t allowed to turn back into his liquid state. Garak finds out nothing useful, but begs Odo to let him stop the torture. The Cardassian-Romulan fleet attacks the surface of the Founder’s world but discovers it is a trap, and the fleet is annihilated by a huge number of Dominion ships. Garak goes to save Odo and is assisted by another changeling who reveals the whole thing was a plan by the Founders to end the threat of the Romulans and Cardassians. They escape, and back on DS9 Odo and Garak begin to repair their relationship by meeting for lunch.

Commentary

There is a ton here. First, I want to address the scenes with Garak and Odo. My goodness. It was brutal. To me, it seemed a bit implausible that Odo would turn around and immediately extend the olive branch to Garak after these scenes, but they sold it as a kind of thing with Odo knowing Garak did not wish to harm him. Though that feels a bit tenuous, it also speaks to how brutal reality can sometimes be.

Many other issues regarding the suspension of disbelief could be brought up from these episodes. I mean, seriously, how did the Cardassians and Romulans decided to work together and do so–taking entire fleets–with their overarching bodies allegedly not knowing about it at all? I am quite skeptical. Moreover, if the Dominion is really so powerful that they can just decimate a joint fleet like this, why not just swarm through the Wormhole and take everything over? I’m sure some of this is a setup for later intrigue, but it seems like the Dominion is pretty overpowered at this stage.

Garak’s character continues to have depth, though it’s always frustrating to lose out on how much of the background we get may or may not be true. I do think he got some strong development here, however.

Overall this is a strong two-part episode with some jarring and emotionally disturbing scenes.

Grade: A- “Deeply emotional and exciting, but the episode suffers from some serious implausibility issues.”

Wife’s Grade and Comment:

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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Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Season 3 “Defiant” and “Fascination”

What the heck is going on?

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:

“Defiant”

Synopsis

Will Riker shows up on DS9 and shows some interest in Kira. When the latter agrees to give him a tour of the station, including the Defiant, he drugs her and takes over the ship. Turns out he is, in fact, Thomas Riker, who was created by a transporter incident some time ago and is referenced in the TNG episode Second Chances. He’s trying to help steal the Defiant for the Maquis. He and his crew take Kira deep into Cardassian territory, as Sisko partners with Gul Dukat to help track the ship. A member of the Obsidian Order, the Cardassian intelligence agency, monitors the events closely. Thomas Riker is convinced that the system he’s approaching has a secret Cardassian base where they are preparing for an attack on the Federation and specifically the area the Maquis dispute. Kira is unconvinced, but as the Defiant eludes pursuit, it is confronted by a number of Cardassian ships that even Gul Dukat did not know were in the system. Sisko swings a deal that sends Riker to a Cardassian prison camp instead of death in exchange for the Defiant‘s sensor logs, allowing Dukat to learn more about what the Obsidian Order may be up to in the system.

Commentary

Thomas Riker! That came out of left field, though I will say that I just barely called it in advance. I figured Riker was acting too strange to be William and it might be a shapeshifter or perhaps Thomas showing up. But I only thought of that just before he shot Kira, and the only reason I thought of Thomas was because that episode was pretty striking to me.

Anyway, this episode was actually totally exciting. Moreover, it seemed important. It wasn’t just a set piece to throw Riker into the mix. It showed yet another escalation of the Maquis conflict in the Star Trek universe, as well as some nefarious undercurrents with the Obsidian Order and the Cardassians. It set up a lot of stuff later, though I don’t remember how much of it is cashed in on. Moreover, it didn’t feel like a setup episode, because it was exciting and had an interesting plot on its own.

The man and perhaps only problem here is how totally willing Sisko was to share absolutely top secret and vital intel on the Defiant with the Cardassians. Though the ship was intended to combat the growing Dominion threat, I can’t help but think that sharing those secrets with the Cardassians, who are clearly another major rival, would not be okay. Yes, they rationalized it some as preventing all out war with the Cardassians, but it was still tough to completely suspend my disbelief here. If the rest of the episode hadn’t been so good, I may have marked it down even more for this.

But let’s get this straight, this was a great episode. It provided a tie-in to The Next Generation that wasn’t just for the sake of a cameo, it developed the Maquis, it perhaps closed the book on a loose thread with Thomas Riker, and opened exciting new possibilities for the show. Well done.

Grade: A- “Great follow up on the TNG episode, good action. If slightly unbelievable, it was exciting enough that I was able to mostly overlook that.”

Wife’s Grade and Comment: A- “It was a good tie-in to an old TNG story and had some nice action.” 

“Fascination”

Synopsis

Lwaxana Troi is back on station, much to Odo’s chagrin. But after her arrival, things begin to go haywire among the crew and visitors. People obsess over each other in ways that are clearly uncharacteristic. Meanwhile, Keiko and Miles O’Brien are reunited (oh yeah, and their daughter is there, too), but struggle because Keiko wants to stay on Bajor even longer for her botany. Miles is jealous of her time and her interactions with a male colleague, and he royally messes up. Ultimately, Bashir manages to isolate what’s happening to the station–Lwaxana’s Betazed abilities have been impacted by a fever and caused the mayhem. She gets treatment and the chaos stops. Miles reconciles with Keiko, offering to resign if necessary to let her pursue her dream. She says he doesn’t need to, and they’re happy once more.

Commentary

Yeah, this episode was silly. Surprisingly, the silliness wasn’t terrible though. It gave a more plausible reason for all the characters to act silly, because we’ve already seen how Betazed/Betazoid (which is correct, anyway?) abilities can impact all those around them. It made for some humorous scenarios to offset the drama among the O’Brien family. It was great to see how Keiko and Miles reconciled.

But speaking of Miles O’Brien, why does DS9 have it in for him so much? It’s like every episode he’s featured in he screws up big time or ends up stranded in some horrible situation. Poor O’Brien.

Another reason this episode gets kudos from me is because it used Lwaxana Troi wisely. It didn’t push her to be something she’s not, and it stayed in character for her without being completely obnoxious. I suspect Odo would disagree on that assessment, though.

Grade: B “Amazingly, DS9 has had Lwaxana Troi on it multiple times and not delivered a series-worst episode. Well done.”

Wife’s Grade and Comment: A- “There was nothing particularly special about this one, but I certainly enjoyed it.”

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.