Star Trek: DS9 Season 4 “The Sword of Kahless” and “Our Man Bashir”

Secret agent men.

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 Sword of Kahless”

Synopsis

A Klingon warrior, Kor is on station and convinces Dax and Worf to go with him on what seems a fool’s errand: finding the Sword of Kahless, the original Bat’leth that Kahless himself used. He believes it will help to bring the Klingon Empire back to the right path. However, other players are involved who steal information on the Sword’s whereabouts, and when the three heroes eventually find it, they must fight to keep it in their possession. After their victory, though, it becomes clear the Sword’s real existence may actually be a significant problem, as it seems to be influencing both Kor and Worf to fight for its prestige. Dax takes control of the Sword after some bickering, and eventually Worf and Kor realize the divisive power of the Sword. They beam it into space, hoping that one day it will be able to be possessed by a Klingon Empire that is ready for it.

Commentary

Okay, let’s admit that this episode has some problems. First, it has a pretty slow moving middle, with the episode getting bogged down in the cave system after the Sword is recovered. Second, the rapid descent into chaos with both Worf and Kor is a stretch.

But what does the episode have in droves? Klingon awesomeness. And Klingon lore and chest slapping kickassery makes up for a lot of boring downtime. I liked the episode quite a bit and bought into the lore of the Sword of Kahless. It’s exactly the kind of thing that could make for a Klingon version of Indiana Jones, and I appreciated that aspect of it a lot. It also gave some more development to the relationship between Dax and Worf.

Grade: B+ “It was a bit overdone, but I love Klingon lore and this episode has it in droves.”

Wife’s Grade and Comment: B “It was a cool Klingon story. That’s about it.”

“Our Man Bashir”

Synopsis

Bashir has, of course, created a secret agent program in the holosuites on DS9. As he’s involved in one such program with Garak, a runabout with a lot of the senior crew malfunctions and the patterns of the crew members must be stored in station memory in order to save their lives. Of course, this means they show up on the holosuite as imitations of themselves, and Bashir and Garak must work to save themselves and the lives of the crew, because if they die their patterns will be destroyed. Bashir manipulates the evil genius, played by the “pattern” of Sisko, into a position where he is able to save the lives of the crew by effectively destroying earth with lasers. Just as Sisko is about to kill Bashir, their patterns are restored and they return to normal. Garak is impressed by Bashir’s willingness to sacrifice the population of Earth–real or not–for his personal ends.

Commentary

Bashir is ridiculous, but he embraces it. It’s something I have thought DS9 does really well–allowing central characters to be almost caricatures without going too far on it. Here, Bashir does something that is right in line with his character- he makes a holosuite program in which he is the star of a spy drama. Yep, that’s right in line with how I’d expect Bashir to be spending his holosuite time.

Like the previous episode, there is some serious suspension of disbelief involved here. The “patterns” for major crew members just happen to be salvaged from a wreck and stored in memory, while taking over the holosuite? Yeah, that seems reasonable. Not. But once you do suspend the disbelief and just let yourself enjoy the episode, it becomes one of those fun breaks in the building drama that is DS9. Once in a while we just need something silly to happen, because DS9 is so relentlessly serious at times. I enjoyed this one, and apparently fans did too because there are all kinds of fan arts for it.

Grade: A- “It’s a bit silly, but it is also so fun and awesome that I didn’t care.”

Wife’s Grade and Comment: B “It was an enjoyable story, but at some point I have to believe that they either fix the holosuites or stop letting people into them.”

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 “Shakaar” and “Facets”

Didn’t I have enough makeup already?

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:

“Shakaar”

Synopsis

Kai Winn calls on Major Kira to intercede on Bajor in a dispute between a group of farmers and the government. Essentially, the farmers have some equipment the Kai believes would be better put to use elsewhere, but the farmers point to a contract they have allowing them use of the equipment. It turns out some of the farmers are former resistance members who fought alongside Kira. Kira manages to convince Shakaar, the leader of the farmers–and of her former resistance cell–to speak with Winn directly, but instead of trying to speak with him, Winn simply sends soldiers to arrest the farmer. Shakaar and others resist the arrest, and Kira joins in. They flee to the mountains and an escalating conflict develops as Winn devotes more and more soldiers to the pursuit. The conflict ends when the soldiers and resistance fighters refuse to fire upon each other. The leader of the government soldiers takes Shakaar and Kira to Winn, and the two explain to Winn how Shakaar now plans to run for First Minister. Kai Winn, ever the amoral person that she is, steps aside to ensure her crazy actions bringing Bajor to the bring of Civil War are not exposed.

Commentary

Kai Winn… she really has it coming sometime. She’s a slithery snake; an eel! She manages to get out of every situation mostly intact, and often on the better end of things! In this one, it feels like she’s gone too far, but she still seems to get out of the consequences of her rather insane actions. Also, the actor who plays her is fantastic at making a really love-to-hate persona come to life.

Overall, this episode’s main plot is pretty astonishing. I mean, I don’t know what kind of media services Bajor has, but I’d imagine pretty much everyone would be outraged by the Kai sending the military after some group of farmers who were basically just insisting the government follow its own agreement. These are Bajorans, after all! Haven’t they had enough of governments ordering them around and going off the deep end in response to minor slights… like the Cardassians? Also, how believable is it that the thing escalated as quickly as it did? I’m fully willing to believe that Shakaar and his group could elude their pursuers on ground they knew better (though what kind of technology Bajor is using to track them is another question), but to go from “Yeah, we’d like this farm equipment back” to “KILL THEM!” seemed pretty abrupt.

What sets this apart, though, is what I just mentioned with Winn, and it applies to all the characters here. There’s some pretty good acting happening here and it helps sell the crazy plot. Somehow, I want to believe that a culture that just threw off the shackles of oppression would be totally willing to just do the same thing to their own people. Indeed, knowing humanity, it doesn’t seem that surprising that another people would do the same kind of crazy stuff, does it? But still, my suspension of disbelief did struggle here.

Grade: B- “It is pretty unbelievable, but the actors all do a great job pulling it off.”

Wife’s Grade and Comment: B+ “Kai Winn should not expect any other outcome from sending Kira to put down a people’s rebellion.”

“Facets”

Synopsis

Dax wants people to take on the roles of previous Dax hosts so she can learn from them. Nog fails his exam, but only because Quark rigged it. Rom makes Quark admit to it, Nog retakes the test and passes. High fives.

Commentary

Yeah, that first sentence summarizes the main plot of the episode pretty well. We’re already familiar with many of the Dax hosts, but here we get to see them as various crew members. Somehow, we’re supposed to get past the idea of Odo somehow–without any neural network–getting the memories of a completely different species and changing his appearance perfectly for it. Oh yeah, and a Bajoran, and humans, and a Ferengi all manage to have the same thing happen to them. Sorry, not buying it. It also wasn’t all that interesting, because the transformations really just get used as ploys to make the main characters do weird things. I guess it was kinda cool to find out the reason Curzon Dax was so harsh on Jadzia was because he was in love with her, but that’s also creepy. The Nog side story is really the saving grace here, because it’s cute, simple, and resolved.

Grade: D+ “Weird. Too weird. But the Nog side story was good.”

Wife’s Grade and Comment: C “It just felt like they couldn’t think of anything to do with an episode, so they just made all the actors be weird.”

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 3 “Past Tense” Parts I + II

Get ready for our future. This is it.

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:

“Past Tense: Parts I + II”*

*I’ve decided to start combining the scores for 2 part episodes because it is difficult to parse them apart from each other.

Synopsis

Sisko, Dax, and Dr. Bashir are caught in a transporter accident that sends them to the past, San Francisco in 2024. Dax is separated from Sisko and Bashir and the latter are taken into custody and placed into a “sanctuary district,” a kind of slum for non-criminals who have no work and nowhere to go. Dax, meanwhile, meets Chris Brynner, a successful businessman with a kind heart who quickly agrees to help her find her friends. In the sanctuary district, Sisko realizes that they are there just before the “Bell Riots,” a kind of uprising in the sanctuary districts that helped awaken the world to the suffering of the poor.

Commentary

Why does anyone take a transporter anymore? Every time someone mentions fears of transporters, all those surrounding that person say “but they’re so safe, there are almost no accidents, etc.” Yet almost every time this happens, an accident happens. Sorry, if a transporter can just dematerialize me on a whim or send me back in time, I’m not sure I trust that thing to be teleporting me all around the face of the universe.  Also, can we talk about how the transporter literally just destroys you and creates a copy of you somewhere else? It’s not you showing up on the other end; it’s a perfect copy. But the old you was dematerialized–they don’t send that matter to the other end, they just make new matter in the same form pop up. Count me out!

Anyway, now that I’ve cleared that out of my system, let’s talk about the actual episodes. This was a great two-parter. It felt, honestly, like a rather well done B-movie made as a dystopia. It had the cheesy factor with some kind of silly jokes, it had the funky 90s-future outfits, and it had the color palate of a movie like Equilibrium or Gattaca (if you haven’t seen these–run and do so). I can’t help but now have fond memories of the kind of quaint, single-block set that they used for these episodes.

Here’s another thing though: this is disturbingly scary in its seeming accuracy to what some people are pushing for. Shutting up people in certain parts of the city seems reminiscent of the use of sanctuary cities, but with a devious twist that doesn’t seem all that outside of the realm of where we may be going. I mean, the whole two-parter seemed strikingly possible, even to the date (I believe it was 2019 or something). Depressingly close to home.

The real difficulties here are minor, the main one being some pretty big holes left open throughout the double feature’s plot. I found myself not minding so much, because the resolution of it all was so cool. Well done.

Grade: A- “It’s a sort of cheesy near-future dystopia but oh my goodness is it disturbingly accurate feeling right now.”

Wife’s Grade and Comment: A- “It was quite a good story, though there were certainly a few holes in 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.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Season 3: “House of Quark” and “Equilibrium”

“K’plah. Or something.”

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:

“House of Quark”

Synopsis

Quark tries to get a Klingon, Kozak, to pay his bill, but the latter objects, leading to a scuffle in which Kozak trips and is killed by his own blade. Quark milks the incident for all its worth, playing it up as though he’d engaged the Klingon in combat and defeated him. Another Klingon, D’Ghor shows up and gets the true story from Quark, but then insists Quark maintain the facade of combat to not dishonor his family. Then, Kozak’s widow, Grilka, comes on station and kidnaps Quark. Before he knows it, Quark has legally married Grilka, who made the move to prevent D’Ghor from seizing the property of her house.

Back on the station, Keiko has closed down the school due to lack of students and flounders looking for something to do. Ultimately, she goes on assignment to do some botanical work to engage her mind more.

Quark digs through the Klingon finances to see how D’Ghor has cheated Grilka and confronts him at the Klingon High Council, but the Klingons are unimpressed with his use of finances to try to settle a dispute about honor. Quark challenges D’Ghor to combat, then, to settle the dispute like a Klingon. When they meet in combat, Quark throws down his blade, calling the fight for the sham that it is. D’Ghor goes for the killing blow anyway, however, showing he has no honor. He is discommendated immediately by the High Council. Grilka thanks Quark and her house is restored to her. K’plah all around.

Commentary

My goodness was this episode fun or what? Okay, let’s get this out of the way: the episode completely ignores all kinds of gaping plot holes and inconsistencies with how we have learned Klingons operate. But these are child’s play for this fun episode. Yes, it seems obvious that the Klingons would be pretty ticked off that D’Ghor has dishonorably used his money to build up others’ debt, but you can sort of see them reacting the way they do, can’t you? Forget all these numbers, fight to the death! K’plah!

None of this has to make sense. Quark is going Klingon, baby, and he does it like a good Ferengi, looking to get whatever profit he can; and if he can’t he wants to at least escape with his life. He does it in a clever way, but that underscores Quark’s own brilliance. He’s a manipulator, and he’s taking a calculated risk. Yes, he knows he will die in combat; may as well try a different route, because otherwise he’s dead. It’s the exact kind of thing his character would do. I loved it.

Also, as a kind of afterthought, the episode explained why we won’t be seeing Keiko or lil O’Brien for a long time. I wonder if there was some issue with these cast members.

Anyway, fun, fun, fun episode.

Grade: A “Implausible? Goes against what we know about Klingons? Ignores major details and plot holes? Check, check, check. But is it a rip-roaring good time? Check.”

Wife’s Grade and Comment: A “It was just a high quality Quark episode. Rules of acquisition for the win. That was sweet!”

“Equilibrium”

Synopsis

Dax starts to exhibit elements of a personality that she doesn’t remember. The DS9 gang takes her to her home planet for treatment, but not all is as it seems. There’s a cover up happening, and Dax is at the center of it. It turns out that a violent person had taken control of the Dax symbiont and that this meant the possibility of getting paired with a symbiont is much higher than anyone has been led to believe. Finding that out, though, would undermine the whole of society on the planet, and the episode ends ambiguously as Jadzia discovers the missing personality and accepts it into herself.

Commentary

I thought this was a weird episode, but not as weird as some that have come before. The biggest problem here is the big question mark surrounding Dax’s society. It seems clear that a society with a hidden self-contradiction is not going to last indefinitely. Will it come up again? I hope so, but it’s always hard to tell in Star Trek. Things are picked up and dropped like children with toys, never to be seen again. Oh well.

The episode’s premise is decent, but it is also kind of hard to believe. An entire personality completely blocked from both the Trill and the human host? I don’t know if I buy that, but I guess I’ll ease off on the suspension of disbelief for now. Or would that be increase my suspension of disbelief? Oh well.

A lot happens in this one, but it really is pretty bare bones. That’s what made it work. If there’d been much more to the main plot, or too much on the side, this episode wouldn’t have worked at all. As it stands, it does work, even if it feels a little unsatisfying.

Grade: B “A good development episode for Jadzia Dax, but too many unanswered questions remain.”

Wife’s Grade and Comment: B+ “I liked getting to learn more about Dax and the symbionts, but it just felt off somehow.”

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 “Blood Oath” and “The Maquis Part 1”

Time to kick ass.

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:

“Blood Oath”

Synopsis

A group of Klingons shows up on Deep Space 9, immediately causing problems with their carousing. After several arrests, Jadzia Dax hears their names and realizes they are sincere friends of Dax’s from the past. She reunites with them and discovers they have come to gather in order to fulfill a blood oath all of them took–including Dax–to avenge themselves against a pirate, “The Albino,” who killed the firstborn sons of the Klingons after they destroyed his base. They have finally found his location and plan to kill him. Jadzia insists on being included–one of the murdered Klingon children was Dax’s godson, after all, and Dax also swore the blood oath–but two of them oppose her inclusion. She finally convinces them to let her come with as part of the honor of Klingon oaths. Major Kira and Commander Sisko each try to convince her not to go, but she does. En route, she discovers that the whole thing is a set up–The Albino knows they are coming and has agreed to give them a “chance” to kill him under his own conditions. Jadzia rebels against the notion and instead devise a way to attack the weapons of The Albino. They attack in the manner she plans, and manage to confront The Albino in his lair. Jadzia herself disarms The Albino, and one of her companions kills him. Two of her best friends are lost in the battle, but she and Kor leave, the latter singing praises of the battle they just fought.

Commentary

BUM BUMBuMbuM buM BUM *Guitar Riff*

Sorry, this episode just really needs a heavy metal soundtrack going along even as I think about it. It was totally badass. In this episode, Jadzia Dax goes with a group of Klingons to take Klingon-style revenge: a Bat’leth to the gut. Yeah. Totally awesome. It also provides a significant amount of character development for Dax, as she struggles to decide whether it is morally acceptable for her to go on this quest for revenge, as well as balancing her former host lives against her own perspectives.

Now, accompany all of this with a group of rambunctious Klingons causing problems all over DS9 for Odo and Quark? Yeah. Not a ton to say about this one because the plot itself basically demonstrates how amazing it is.

Grade: A+ “They really needed to have a soundtrack filled with heavy metal… or Klingon opera, for this one. It’s an epic episode.”

Wife’s Grade and Comment: A “It was just an epic Klingon feud of destiny.”

“The Maquis, Part I”

Synopsis

Tensions from the colonies–both Cardassian and Starfleet–that are along the border between the two nations (what is the right term for Starfleet anyway… conglomerate of utopic homeworlds? I don’t know) spill over to DS9 in a big way as a Cardassian freighter is destroyed. A Vulcan attempts to buy weapons from Quark to help in the same conflict. Apparently, they may be part of a group calling itself The Maquis that seeks to limit the Cardassian influence on their colonies through force. Gul Dukat stops by for a visit and, in a trip with a Runabout, shows him the conflict that continues to develop between their peoples. An old friend of Sisko, Calvin Hudson, has been sent to try to stymie the conflict. Chief O’Brien demonstrates that the device that destroyed the Cardassian freighter was of Federation origin, and Sisko moves to defend Dukat. He’s too late, and the Cardassian is captured. Sisko goes in pursuit, but is confronted by Hudson, who has apparently joined the Maquis himself.

Commentary

The Cardassians continue to be a much more interesting foe than even the Romulans were in TNG. Unlike so many of the aliens that are foes of the Federation in Star Trek, the Cardassians aren’t just one trick ponies. The Romulans, for example, you know are going to be lying and plotting. The Ferengi are greedy and that’s about it (but DS9 is also changing that perception), the Borg are rather generically horrible. Yes there are exceptions, but overall the aliens in earlier Star Trek had very little by way of dynamics. The Cardassians feel like a bigger challenge because they have, for better or worse, more humanity in them. “The Maquis” helps develop them even more, showing Gul Dukat as a manipulator, yes, but a manipulator who may not always have the worst possible intentions at heart.

The ending was kind of expected for me. I figured it would be Hudson. But, though predictable, it also shows the episode’s writers weren’t just pulling things out of a hat whenever possible. It is cohesive and a great setup for what is to come.

Grade: A- “The conflict between Starfleet and the Cardassians continues to be compelling, with both personal and broader conflict drawing viewers in.”

Wife’s Grade and Comment: B+ “It was pretty good, but not particularly memorable.”

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 “Playing God” and “Profit and Loss”

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:

“Playing God”

Synopsis

Another Trill, Arjin, who wants to be a host shows up on DS9 to do field work under Jadzia Dax. Apparently previous Dax iterations were notorious for washing out candidates from the program, and Jadzia is determined to allow herself leeway to be herself rather than a previous iteration. So she takes Arjin around the station to the Klingon restaurant, on field work, and the like. She insists he doesn’t need to impress her. They accidentally snag a piece of protoplasm on a mission and it turns out that as the protoplasm stays on station, it starts to expand rapidly. It turns out the protoplasm is a “protouniverse” trying to form within the station [?] and they ultimately manage to take it back through the wormhole, only with the ace piloting of Arjin. It awakens Arjin to his own strength of personality and capacity to contribute to the symbiot program. Oh yeah, and O’Brien and Kira have to try to take out some Cardassian voles that are causing havoc all over the station.

Commentary

THE KLINGON RESTAURANT SHOWED UP AGAIN YES!!!!! It’s my favorite place on the station, and this scene was perfection. A massive Klingon serenading Jadzia with a love song she taught him? Amazing.

The vole scenes with Kira and O’Brien? Suitably hilarious and fun. The major plot with Jadzia as her own person and trying to explain to Arjin that he must have his own personality to be a capable symbiot host? Fantastic.

Here’s the hitch: what the hell was that ‘protouniverse’ plot? I mean I get it, new universes may be out there forming somewhere. But by definition, they wouldn’t be a part of our universe, because they’d be a different universe. Some have theorized that black holes may lead to other universes or something. I’m not a scientist so I have no idea how to evaluate such a theory, but if it is true, it still wouldn’t be some space goo you could pick up and walk around with. Sorry, but this is nonsense.  Realistically, I should knock this one down lower, but I just loved everything else about it so much I can’t bring myself to go down to the ‘B’ range.

Really, this episode is an easy A or A+ without the protouniverse garbage. It’s a fantastic character piece for Dax, it has the best set on the whole show (Klingon restaurant); it has a genuinely funny subplot. Who thought the protouniverse was a good idea? Stop it. Overall, a really great episode that is taken down a notch or two by nonsense.

Grade: A- “An excellent episode marred by a weird sideshow… or was it the main plot? I don’t know.”

Wife’s Grade and Comment: A/B+ “Everything was excellent, aside from the absurdity that was the expanding universe subplot. Dax development for the win.

“Profit and Loss”

Synopsis

A Cardassian Professor, Natima Lang, and her three students are picked up and brought to DS9 after their craft suffers–they say–from an accident. Odo confronts Quark about an illegal cloaking device he may have acquired as Bashir tries to discover more about Garak’s past. O’Brien discovers that the damage found on Natima’s ship was caused by Cardassian weapons, so Commander Sisko confronts her. Natima admits that they are on the run from Cardassia’s government and are afraid Garak spotted them and will turn them in. Indeed, a Cardassian ship quickly comes near DS9 and demands to have Natima and her students handed over, though Sisko refuses to give them up. Quark offers the cloaking device he acquired to Natima’s students in exchange for having her stay with him–he loves her and had a lengthy relationship with her in the past. They agree, but Natima instead stuns him with a phaser. She realizes she still has  feelings for him and helps restore him from being stunned. As Sisko tries to figure out a prisoner swap the Bajorans agreed to, Garak is visited by Gul Toran who wants to arrange Garak’s return from exile from Cardassia in exchange for his assassinating Natima and her students. Garak blocks Natima’s escape attempt and Quark–now once more with the trio–tries to convince Garak to let them go. Gul Toran shows up and attempts to kill the fugitives after telling Garak he will remain in exile forever. Garak kills Toran and allows Natima and her group to leave. Quark says goodbye to Natima and he and Garak return to the main parts of the station, each with another brick in the wall.

Commentary

I’m sure I missed some things that happened because this episode was jam-packed with action, intrigue, and more. But what it did best was develop both Quark and Garak as major characters capable of carrying an episode on their own. Quark, in particular, is shown to have more dimension even to his love life than may have been expected. According to the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, the plan was to make a kind of science fiction Casablanca, but to differentiate it enough from the source material to escape legal issues, they introduced the relationship between aliens (Quark and Natima) to help drive the plot. Excellent work, I’d say!

The main thing to say about this episode is that it balanced everything remarkably well. None of the intrigue or twists seemed wholly impossible, though some were unlikely. It also helped introduce the idea that there might be different factions within the Cardassian government and people regarding how to govern. I loved this one.

Grade: A- “A convoluted, but overall excellent episode. I love when they develop individual characters more, and this really helped bring forward Quark’s personality.”

Wife’s Grade and Comment: A- “I thought it was really good and it showed a side of Quark that we hadn’t seen before.”

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 “Paradise” and “Shadowplay”

Odo can also provide the vital function of spare toys as necessary.

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:

“Paradise”

Synopsis

Sisko and O’Brien get marooned on a planet as they try to figure out how to contact the lifeforms on its surface. They are discovered by other humans who have apparently come from Starfleet ten years ago and been stranded since then because of [space magic] blocking their electronic equipment. But, don’t worry! A kind of utopic society has been created on the planet by following the teachings of Alixus, who believes technology is the worst. Moreover, they punish people with THE BOX – a metal box that is super hot and potentially fatal to stay in. Sisko gets put in the box for stirring up trouble, but finally figures out that there is a machine that is making the [space magic] that prevents other electronics from working. He confronts Alixus with this and she admits she brought the colonists here on purpose. A timely arrival by Kira and Dax allows them to arrest Alixus and her son, but everyone else chooses to stay behind in their ‘paradise.’

Commentary

Elements of this episode were stolen from all kinds of inspiration, but I was willing to forgive that because it was pretty dang cool. The idea of a utopic society that has utterly brutal punishments that somehow lead to unity? Chilling, but weirdly plausible. And think about it for a moment: before Sisko and folks showed up, the whole thing was pretty much working. It’s just because Sisko and O’Brien are so opposed to what’s happening and confounded curious about the problem with power units that the society starts to collapse.  It’s a cool idea.

What made it even better was THE BOX and the idea that lurking behind this kind of “paradise” setting was some pretty awful, brutal punishment and horror. Moreover, this awfulness was accepted as not just okay but good by pretty much everybody, including the punished. Wow.

I think the biggest problem here, though, is the ending. Nobody is genuinely peeved that their entire way of living has been built completely on a lie? Or that they had to watch loved ones die because of some maniac’s idea of what the perfect society would be? Oh, or that a bunch of Starfleet-trained people wouldn’t have shown more curiosity about the problem that managed to prevent all their tech from working? (Oh I know THE BOX was punishment if you got too curious, but surely it took some time to establish that as an acceptable way to stop people from doing things detrimental to the society.) Or that the Starfleet people wouldn’t, I don’t know, realize that the population size they have is unsustainable? Yeah, sorry, not buying almost any of this. If everyone had gotten pissed and left, I would have liked this a lot more. Sure, show some of them wondering about whether some Luddite ideals wouldn’t be for the best, but staying? Heck no. Sorry, but this ending really didn’t sit right with me.

Grade: B “I found it to be an awesome premise with good execution, but the ending really lets this one down.”

Wife’s Grade and Comment: B- “It was a bit predictable and the resolution was unbelievable.”

“Shadowplay”

Synopsis

Dax and Odo investigate a particle field in the Gamma Quadrant, where they discover a large group of humanoids in a village where apparently more than twenty people have disappeared. After convincing Colyus, the local lawman, that they aren’t the baddies, Odo and Dax help try to track down the missing persons. Meanwhile, back on DS9, Sisko tries to get Jake to work with O’Brien to get trained up for Starfleet. He hates it though, and Sisko agrees Jake can do whatever the heck he wants when he grows up. Yay. Back in the village, Dax and Odo discover that everyone is, in fact, a hologram. People are disappearing because the projector is breaking down. They have to try to fix it or everyone will be gone. They shut it down, discover that one of the villagers is not, in fact, a hologram but rather a lonely guy who fled here to live a life in peace. He does love the people, but suggests leaving it off and going home. Odo and Dax convince him to stay and keep living his life with the “people” he loves. High fives and hugs all around.

Commentary

One problem is that the people of the village seem to have a rather amorphous knowledge of technology. Sheriff Colyus (okay, probably not a sheriff) was blown away by the transporter, but is later asked if he scanned to see if people were being transported away from the village as a way to kidnap them and acknowledges that was one of the first things he checked for. Uh, what? I thought the transporter had convinced him Dax and Odo weren’t nefarious people to begin with because they had space magic? Oh well. A few other things like this happen (eg. the tricorder replacements they have) which I suppose you could chalk up to them all being holograms and maybe, maybe that is supposed to be a hint early on of what’s happening, but I just don’t buy that explanation much.

Another problem is Odo’s argument about what makes someone a person or valuable or whatever. It was kind of similar to the arguments about Data back in the good ol’ TNG days, but it also was similar to Odo’s thoughts on himself. But come on, we’re talking about holograms here. Are we supposed to take seriously the notion that now holograms are people, too? I don’t know about that one. Guess you could never erase a program, then.

Still, those are small gripes for an otherwise excellent episode. I mean, yes, it is a huge stretch, but also, yes, it is touching and heartfelt. Seeing the Jake storyline was good, but totally predictable. Finding out the village was made up of holograms wasn’t a big surprise. But what was great about it was that it showed the way human emotions and love can be so strange and amazing all at the same time. I mean, the angry old grandpa guy did truly love the holograms. Weird? Definitely. Okay? Sure. I liked it. Plus, Odo and Dax get some great screentime here, and that is a good reason to watch, too. Oh, and that touching scene with Odo and the hologram girl at the end, where he finally shows her he is, in fact, a shapeshifter/changeling? Gold.

Grade: B+ “It has some continuity issues, and it is fairly easy to see coming, but it is still a good, heartfelt episode.”

Wife’s Grade and Comment: B+ “It was also a bit predictable, but it was fun to see Odo take center stage.”

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.