Admiral Shran wrote:
I'm curious, what holds Second Skin back from being a 5 star episode?
I don't know, I just didn't "feel" it.
But ENT is
better than VOY.
I have mathematically proven it using my subjective opinions.
The Abandoned (***½)
I feel like this episode was written mainly because the staff had come up with a number of traits for the Jem'Hadar during the break between seasons 2 and 3 and they wanted to relay them to the audience, so they did an episode to do so. There's a plus and a minus to this, the plus being that they avoided an unnecessary exposition dump in an episode like The Search
, the minus being that this episode feels a bit artificial in some ways. The story works and it includes some nice character stuff for Odo, but it still feels like the story was shaped in some way by what they were trying to teach us about the Jem'Hadar rather than letting the story progress naturally.
This episode reminds me a bit of I Borg
now that I think about it. Both episodes were the first attempt to explore a new enemy by focusing on an individual from that species and both ended with that individual returning to their race, the difference being in why they return. I Borg
was a better story overall, but it had the unfortunate impact of beginning a sequence of events that lessened the Borg threat in many peoples' opinion. The Abandoned
's story is weaker, but it intentionally drives home the fact that the Jem'Hadar are beyond reasoning with even on an individual basis, thus it strengthens the Jem'Hadar as a threat. It's also interesting to note that in I Borg
the idealism of Geordi and Crusher win out against the prejudices held by Picard and Guinan while in The Abandone
d it is Kira's prejudice that wins out over Odo's idealism. For those reasons this episode could be labelled as anti-Trek which may be why the story doesn't feel natural to me, but it's necessary in order to maintain the Jem'Hadar as effective villains for the rest of the show. (Although there are some episodes in season 4 that undermine the point of this episode, but that's a discussion for another day.)
Meanwhile, we finally get to meet Mardah. I don't care that Wesley Crusher got to pilot the Federation's flagship, Jake is the luckiest teenage boy in the galaxy. This is a fairly standard domestic story which I once again have to label as being pleasant. Sisko must learn to overcome his preconceptions, we get some insights into Jake, and we get to see Mardah almost overflowing out of her top. What's not to like?