Nice job with something that had never been done in the Trek universe. It had the feel of stage play with just two people in the same setting the whole story.
For some reason that just seemed to me to be the way to go with this one. I knew this would be the one where I basically laid all my cards on the table, explained everything that's been going on all season, and set the storylines on course for the end of the season. And with that much exposition to get out, there wasn't room for any "plot" as such.
The type of episode where you put two characters in a room and have them hash it out is often one of my favourite type of stories - if the people have interesting stuff to say, it can be just as nailbiting as any action epic. But this is taking it a step further. I was worried I might not be able to make what is essentially nothing more than an hour-long conversation between two people interesting enough for viewers/readers to stick with for an entire episode. But I hope I pulled it off.
As you say, it's a stage play. A doddle for set builders, and a week off for almost the entire rest of the cast. But sooooo
much dialogue to learn for the actors of Vaughn and Ro - especially Vaughn. And how does a dirctor make two people sitting on a bench for an hour visually interesting? I have no idea.
And with the flashbacks clarifying what happened earlier, more pieces of the puzzle are added.
I counted it up, and there are flashbacks to nine different episodes going back more than two seasons of DS9, and even including a TNG episode. In one sense it just visually breaks up the scene a bit, but in another I think it's necessary to show as much as possible rather than just tell. If you can show the viewer the clip you're talking about, I think they're more likely to actually recall it than if you just mention it in dialogue. People often remember things in a visual way, and I try to remember that I'm writing a screenplay here, not just a prose story, and take advantage of the format.
It had the same feel as the Tom Paris arc in season two of Voyager, coupled with the Michael Garibaldi arc in season four of Babylon 5 and Daniel Jackson pretending to be brainwashed in the final season of Stargate SG-1.
Yeah, as I said above, I'm aware of the Tom Paris similarity, and I'm slightly uncomfortable about it but I felt like it had to be done. I never really watched Stargate
so I'm not familiar with Daniel Jackson's story there. If you're talking about Bester programming Garibaldi in B5
season 4, then yes, I suppose that would be the closest analogue. But at least for the first half of the Taran'atar-L'Haan plot this season - the katra business - I was more picturing Crichton and Harvey from Farscape
season 2. That idea of the little angel on your shoulder, constantly whispering in your ear and driving you mad. Are you really losing your mind, or is something screwing with you? Is there a difference?
Based on what we know from Zero Sum Game, 2378 was about the time Sarina Douglas was recruited into Intelligence and then Section 31 some time later. If L'Haan could so easily use a mind meld to manipulate Taran'atar, 31 theoretically could have immediately gone through with using Sarina to bring Bashir over to their side. Instead, that doesn't happen until four years later, possibly in response to Vaughn's little scheme seen here.
I don't know if it would be as easy with anyone else as it was with Taran'atar. As a Jem'Hadar he's the perfect choice to try this with - a brain and mind specifically designed to do what it's told and follow orders no matter what. He's not used to having any control over his own life, so he's a soft target.
Thanks again for reading - next ep coming at the weekend.