Yes, I know, some of you are probably very angry with me for that score. I completely understand. This and the two stars I gave to Move Along Home
probably have some of you questioning my sanity, some of you may have lost respect for me and decided to give up on this thread, and some of you are no doubt searching for a hitman in my local area to exact a fitting punishment. But what else can I say other than that I don't hate this episode? It's by no means a good episode, but it has things that I like and dislike. Those of you that can still read through the rage-filled tears that are streaming down your face may wish to read on...
I like the tone of the episode. I like seeing some alien version of a celebratory holiday. Star Trek doesn't do holidays and never has, there's no Space Christmas, there's no Space Halloween, and there's no St Space Patrick's Day. I understand that this is because Star Trek doesn't want to push western/Christian culture as being the dominant one in the future and that's all well and good, but as a secularist I can't say that I look forward to a future where cultural and religious holidays disappear entirely. What holidays have we seen in Trek? There was Captain Picard Day, but that was only observed on the Enterprise and Mintaka III. Voyager mentioned a First Contact Day, but that was just an excuse for Neelix to be more obnoxious than normal. So this Bajoran Gratitude Festival is the only time that we really get to see characters in the Trek universe taking the day off, kicking back and enjoying themselves. The episode uses this to try out interesting and complex cinematography, there's more energy than normal on the sets, even the colours seem more vibrant than normal.
There's also the b-plot where O'Brien's marriage is falling apart. It's not the most compelling drama, but as someone who has been in a long-distance relationship and experienced the jealousy and suspicion that goes along with it, I identified strongly with O'Brien. So I liked that part of the story. Your mileage may vary.
As for the a-plot, that's where the problems are. It's a farce, but good farces still need effective punchlines and this episode doesn't have any. Take the Frasier episode The Two Mrs Cranes
, one of that show's premier farce episodes. (I watched it earlier today, that's why it has come to mind.) All the main characters in that episode are forced to lie in some way to a guest, and as the evening goes on the lies become more intricate and absurd. The farce provides the episode with the energy it needs to knock you down with the punchlines, and it provides one of my favourite comedic lines from anything:
DAPHNE: Really, we're not the awful people you think we are.
FRASIER: No, the truth is we've been lying to you all night!
One of the problems with Fascination
is that it builds up a lot of energy and doesn't really do anything with it. Kira and Bashir making out, Jadzia knocking Bareil to the floor, and Quark falling in love with Keiko aren't really funny by themselves, they're just awkward and somewhat disturbing. Well, that's my take on things.
Now that you've heard what I have to say, please feel free to attack me and my diminished credibility. But please, leave my family out of it, they don't deserve to be punished for my mistakes.