Star Trek: DS9 Season 2 “Armageddon Game” and “Whispers”

Well.. this is awkward.

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:

“Armageddon Game”

Synopsis

O’Brien and Bashir are sent to aid T’Lani III in the destruction of a dangerous bioweapon that has helped to spur on endless warfare between two factions. After they manage to destroy the last of it, an attack apparently makes them disappear. To the crew of DS9, it looks as though they’ve died. However, Keiko O’Brien suggests that because Chief Miles O’Brien was drinking coffee later than he ever would, the recording has been doctored. Sisko and Dax go to T’Lani III to investigate. Meanwhile, O’Brien has been getting sick, apparently from a bioweapon, and Bashir continues to try to treat him as O’Brien helps Bashir repair a communicator. As Sisko and Dax investigate, they discover that the runabout O’Brien and Bashir used has been tampered with, opening the possibility that they are alive. The T’Lani find O’Brien and Bashir, and it turns out they’ve decided to kill them to erase any possibility of the bioweapon ever being constructed again. Sisko and Dax manage to grab the imperiled crew members and distract the T’Lani, escaping back to DS9 with their lives.

Commentary

I thought this was a great character-building episode. One thing this episode highlights about DS9 as over and against TNG is that it is clear the relationships between characters are more complex. Yes, TNG is my favorite and probably always will be, but here in DS9 we have a relationship between two major characters that is not 100% amiable at all times. The relationship between O’Brien and Bashir is not caustic and awful, but it has tensions and is more depth to it than a lot of relationships on Star Trek in general have. It feels more real because of it.

The plot is pretty intriguing too, though a bit of suspension of disbelief is required for thinking the T’Lani would basically just start a war with Starfleet to preserve their peace after they’d just been assisted by Starfleet to get that peace achieved in the first place.

Overall, this was a great episode, and it built the heck outta O’Brien and Bashir as characters.

Grade: A- “O’Brien and Bashir are the best combination.”

Wife’s Grade and Comment: A- “Anytime Bashir and O’Brien face up, it’s gonna be great.”

“Whispers”

Synopsis

Something’s not right. O’Brien is in a runabout fleeing from Deep Space Nine, narrating the strange things that have happened. Basically everyone aboard DS9, including his wife, has become very strange, acting as though something is wrong with him when in reality all of them are going nuts. He narrates the lengthy series of events that leads to his escape from DS9. Ultimately, he ends up walking in on a meeting between Sisko and some others, only to see another one of himself across the way. He tries to fire on the imposters, but is instead killed by a bodyguard. As he lays dying, he tells the now-revealed-as-real O’Brien to tell Keiko he loves her.

Commentary

I kept getting shades of the classic “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” (an excellent film, btw) throughout this episode, only to have the whole thing overthrown at the end. It was an unexpected twist that, while a bit tough to swallow, made sense as an ending and was satisfying. I enjoyed this one a great deal, especially because I enjoy a good mystery combined with my science fiction.

The abruptness of the ending is quite jarring, however. It’s clear from the beginning something isn’t right. And of course you simply go along with the expectation that O’Brien is the reliable narrator when in fact it is he who is compromised. But it felt like there weren’t really enough hints throughout to fully sell the ending, that the narrator was the imposter. That’s maybe the only real problem with this episode. I still enjoyed it a great deal.

Grade: B+ “The ending is a bit of a stretch, but this is a pretty mystifying–in a good way–episode.”

Wife’s Grade and Comment: B “I like the premise, but I have a hard time believing they wouldn’t be better at keeping him locked up if they really thought they’d been infiltrated by a murderous spy group.”

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.

Star Trek: DS9 Season 2 “Rules of Acquisition” and “Necessary Evil”

necessary-evilI’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:

“Rules of Acquisition”

Synopsis

The Grand Nagus, Zek, shows up on DS9 and enlists Quark to be a kind of ambassador for the Ferengi to the Gamma Quadrant. Quark’s new waiter, Pel, shows himself (but wait, there’s more!) to be an excellent advisor, and Quark brings Pel along to help with negotiations. The Grand Nagus keeps changing exactly what he wants Quark to acquire, while Quark continues to struggle with the people from the Gamma Quadrant he’s trying to buy from. Pel, a female Ferengi who has, in fact, covered up her sex in order to participate in wider Ferengi affairs, falls for Quark and after she reveals herself to him, the Nagus and Quark both must keep her identity secret while also giving her some of the prophets of their Gamma Quadrant findings. Pel leaves Quark with both wondering if they could have been more.

 Commentary

It’s pretty amazing to me how well the DS9 writers have acclimated themselves to writing the Ferengi as a genuine, interesting people group. On TNG they were never more than a kind of annoying mosquito to be swatted–along with some really silly episodes–but on DS9 they’ve been developed into fully realized aliens with a complex system of beliefs and culture. It’s great. This episode contributes well to that growing body of intrigue.

Pel’s character is particularly fascinating, because it shows the low status of women among the Ferengi, as well as how some Ferengi females would try to break out from the strictures of their society. I’m hoping we see more of this going forward–I honestly don’t remember much of DS9 at all, apparently.

The episode also does a great job highlighting the strangeness and excitement of the Gamma Quadrant, with aliens that are aggressive, interesting, and full of opportunity (yes, that’s a nod to the Ferengi). I quite enjoyed the ending, with Quark realizing (?) his own thirst for profit and his adherence to strict codes of behavior among the Ferengi could have just cost him big time on the personal relationships front.

Grade: A “An intriguing look into the politics of the Ferengi is accompanied by an exciting look into the Gamma Quadrant.”

Wife’s Grade and Comment: A- “I thought it was quite enjoyable with the return of the Grand Nagus and the unexpected lady Ferengi.”

“Necessary Evil”

Synopsis

The episode jumps back and forth between what happened on DS9 as Odo first is convinced by Gul Dukat of the Cardassians to take on a job investigating crimes and the present as someone attempted to kill Quark in a kind of burglary/heist gone wrong. In the past, we see Odo investigating a murder in which the (then) newly-arrived Kira was a prime suspect, finding him to be constantly thwarted in his investigation. In the present, the item that was stolen in the violent encounter with Quark was a list of names, apparently of people that Pallra, the woman who initiated the sequence of events and the wife of the murdered man in the past, has recently blackmailed. Odo manages to capture the Bajoran who has come back to try to kill Quark (again), but then realizes that Kira had lied to him in the past and had, in fact, committed the murder he investigated so many years ago. The episode ends with Kira and Odo contemplating their relationship.

Commentary

Wow, this was awesome. We get a huge amount of insight into the past of not just Kira and Odo, but also of Deep Space 9 and the Bajoran-Cardassian conflict. There’s so much to it that I am not going to just type it all up. Watch the episode for all of it! The highlights, though, are seeing how much more militaristic the station was, what kind of conditions the Cardassians kept on the station, and more.

The particular excitement of this episode, though, is found in the skipping back-and-forth between the past and present trying to solve two mysteries at once. It’s a great way to hold tension through the episode, and was handled with such deftness that it came off wonderfully. I can’t imagine trying to write two mysteries across two time periods, connecting them, and pulling it all off, but it was done incredibly well here.

The ending is, like the previous episode, rather bleak. We are left wondering whether Kira/Odo can ever have true trust between them again. It’s the kind of outro that I love in Star Trek episodes. Well done.

Grade: A “A bleak look back at the origins of Odo/Kira’s relationship that basically just makes them both even more awesome.”

Wife’s Grade and Comment: B+ “I enjoyed getting the backstory for Odo and Kira and the Cardassian occupation, but it didn’t quite grasp my attention the way I hoped it would.”

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.

Star Trek: Deep Space 9 Season 1 “Q-Less” and “Dax”

We're in the wrong series!

We’re in the wrong series!

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:

“Q-Less”

Synopsis

Vash, the archaeologist friend/lover of Captain Picard, arrives at Deep Space Nine amidst some difficult circumstances. Almost immediately, things on the station start going haywire as power outages to various systems break out. Chief O’Brien thinks he has it figured out when Q shows up on station as well, but Q taunts Sisko and others for thinking it is him. Meanwhile, Vash is trying to sell a bunch of artifacts and partners with Quark to set up an auction. During the auction, the station gets in even more peril, and it turns out it is coming from one of the artifacts Vash has stolen. They beam it off station just before it explodes.

Commentary

I really like the character Vash, and I’m pretty lukewarm about Q. So I expected this to be overall a decent episode when both of them showed up, and it was. But the difficulty is that this was a story that seems to only exist for the sake of having these crossover characters show up. It’s like a big ad: “Hey everybody, you liked TNG? Check out DS9, because we bring TNG people over!” Meanwhile, O’Brien has been developed into a regular (and great) character. That’s how to cross characters from one series to a next. Don’t inundate–develop.

Oh well. The episode is kind of silly all around, and making Q try to have the same dynamics with Sisko as he had with Picard seemed forced. The mystery over what’s happening at the station–once it clearly became not Q–was very predictable. And, again, stop me if you’ve heard this before: Q gets blamed for something but makes other people figure out the real thing that’s happening. Oh yeah, TNG did that too.

Grade: B- “It was a little overdone, but I enjoyed the crossover characters from The Next Generation.”

Wife’s Grade and Comment: B- “It mostly just felt like they were rehashing The Next Generation storylines in a different setting.”

“Dax”

Synopsis

Police (?) from Klaestron IV come onto Deep Space Nine and capture Jadzia Dax to try to take her back home for trial for murder committed by Curzon Dax. However, Sisko and crew manage to stop them in time to use some political loopholes to force a hearing governed by Bajor over whether Dax will be extradited to Klaestron. At the hearing, the senior officers of Deep Space Nine endeavor to prove that Jadzia Dax is not the same as Curzon Dax and so cannot be responsible for the alleged crimes of the latter. Meanwhile, Odo is dispatched to Klaestron to investigate there. Dax is oddly reticent about defending her(?)self but Odo discovers this is because Curzon Dax had an affair with a woman back on Klaestron and is trying to protect that woman’s reputation. The trial seems to show that the two Daxs are the same, but with the evidence of Curzon’s alibi, the case falls through.

Commentary

The second episode in a row that seems to have major plot stolen from The Next Generation, “Dax” manages to pull it off with much better results. Yes, this is basically just “The Measure of a Man” retold with different characters, but because that inspiration was itself so good, this episode can’t be all bad. And it isn’t–it’s pretty good.

Another aspect of this episode is that it turns its inspiration around. Rather than trying to prove Jadzia Dax is something, the crew [or whatever I should call the main characters on a space station–the cadre?] is trying to prove she is not something (one). That’s enough of a twist to keep this episode from feeling entirely like it has been done before, and the added dimension of Odo going and doing some serious investigating ups the ante.

Overall, the episode builds Dax as a character more than has been done so far, and shows how complex her past is. Hopefully that theme continues through the series.

Grade: B+ “The plot has been done before, and on Star Trek, but it was still an enjoyable episode.”

Wife’s Grade and Comment: B+ “It was an interesting idea, and there were good plot twists.”

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.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Season 1- “Emissary”

"I don't even get a mention in the plot summary? What?" - Quark

“I don’t even get a mention in the plot summary? What?” – Quark

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:

“Emissary”

Synopsis

Commander Benjamin Sisko is assigned to command Deep Space Nine, a station that the Cardassians used in their occupation of the Bajoran system. He arrives with his son, Jake Sisko, to find the station in a state of disrepair, the Cardassins having emptied it out. As Chief O’Brien (from the Enterprise) tries to repair the station, the security commander, Odo, tries to keep the people in order. Major Kira Nerys was briefly the station commander, and seems displeased that Sisko might displace her.

Sisko eventually must meet with Captain Jean Luc Picard of the Enterprise, where tension stands between them as Picard was involved in the Borg attack (as a Borg, briefly) that killed Sisko’s wife. Sisko then meets with a religious leader on the surface of Bajor, Kai Opaka. She says that he is the prophesied one and that he is to help Bajor as a kind of messianic figure.

Sisko and Lieutenant Jadzia Dax go looking for another one of the mysterious orbs that the Bajorans have been gathering due to prophecies and discover a Wormhole. A Cardassian ship follows, and though Dax returns, neither Sisko nor the Cardassians do. As more Cardassian ships arrive near DS9, Major Nerys works to prevent them from taking back the station. Meanwhile, Sisko discovers he is communicating with beings that may have created the stable wormhole.

Ultimately, the Cardassians return, tractored by Sisko in a runabout, and the Enterprise returns to enforce the peace. Sisko informs Picard he’d like to stay on in command of DS9, which is likely to become a major trading center.

Commentary

Whew, that was a jam-packed episode. It’s tough to know exactly where to pick it up.

First, it is clear there is a ton of potential here. The characters each have clear ways to develop as well as potential flaws. Odo, as I recall from the times I’ve watched the series, gets some weird stuff happening to him. Sisko is conflicted about his past. Nerys has Bajoran interests at heart. Quark seems much more serious than Ferengi have so far. There is a lot here to build upon, and I can’t wait to see where it goes. The notion of watching the station develop into a major trade center is a great idea.

Second, the episode itself does a good job introducing each major character, however briefly, while giving some interplay with the cast of TNG. Picard and Sisko talking was a good reminder of how Picard’s off-screen battle with the Federation as a Borg would have much farther reaching impact than it may have seemed when watching The Next Generation.

Third, the action seemed super intense here. I’m hoping this keeps up throughout the series.

The only real problem with this opener is that it drags quite a bit when Sisko is trying to explain how humans work. They did this backwards. See, we who are watching the show are humans, so we don’t need someone to explain to us what humans are or how time feels passing, etc. What we don’t understand is the aliens. It would have been better to flip the script and have the aliens explaining to humans what they’re like. But hey, budget probably didn’t permit it and it would be difficult to do. It was just a pretty boring part in the middle of an otherwise excellent episode.

Grade: A- “The parts with Sisko talking to the weird alien things dragged, but the rest was pretty fantastic.”

Wife’s Grade and Comment: B+ “The first half was better than the second half, which left me sort of confused. I liked all the characters.”

Mother-in-Law’s Grade and Comment: A- “It was engaging, and it had developing elements that left it open for much potential. The idea of a space station gave it much potential, and the characters were interesting. I wish they would have done something more than paint on Dax’s neck to make her stand out as a kind of symbiot.”

Father-in-Law’s Grade and Comment: A- “A promising introduction to a new chapter in the Star Trek saga.”

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: TNG– 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.