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Old October 26 2012, 05:50 PM   #1571
Paper Moon
Re: TheGodBen Revisits Deep Space Nine

OhGodBen wrote: View Post
Hmm, it's a good idea but it needs a few extra rounds of free association.

The Leader -> nananananananana -> fishing -> dead fish
How did you make that second (and for that matter, that first) leap??

That's actually an oddly appropriate final name, though, imho.

Spoilers abound ahead in my comments.

Sacrifice of Angels (****)

I know that the biggest controversy about the episode is the role that the Prophets play in disappearing the Dominion fleet. That's an argument as old as the episode itself and I don't see the benefit in repeating it here, so suffice it to say that I don't agree that it's a deus ex machina, and I actually like it as part of Sisko's arc as the Emissary. My personal view is that the Prophets' intervention indirectly led to Dukat's insanity, which caused him to try and release the Pah-Wraiths, and Sisko had to sacrifice his corporeal existence in the finale to prevent that. That's the penance he's forced to pay: Sisko wins the war for the Federation but at the cost of his future, his family, and his home. I know that a lot of people disagree with me about what happened with Sisko in the finale but that's the way I see it, and when Sisko's arc is viewed that way then this episode is the key moment in Sisko's journey.
Interesting theory; I like, though I also think Ziyal's death (and arguably later, Jadzia's) is a perfectly good interpretation of the penance.

It brings up a fascinating problem with the Prophets. Since they exist outside of linear time, it is commonly assumed that they therefore have some simultaneous perception of the past, present and future. And if they can perceive the future, then they would know whether or not the Dominion was "meant" too succeed.

I guess you could argue that they have access to multiple pasts, presents and futures, and could see the Dominion-wins-at-Bajor scenario, and were convinced by Sisko to change "his" timeline's future to some other, non-Dominion-wins-at-Bajor scenario.

Still, I feel this interpretation gives the Prophets too much power. For all the fuss made about them, their powers actually seem pretty limited, restricted to the Wormhole and things related to the Orbs. I suppose this situation does technically fall within those bounds, since it occurs within the wormhole, but... ehn. I guess what it comes down to is that I don't think the Prophets caused the penance, whatever it actually is, despite what is implied in the episode. (ie. They didn't kill Ziyal, they didn't make Dukat go crazy, etc.)

Ziyal's story comes to an end with her death, which also sends Dukat off in a new direction. That direction might not have been a good idea, but I feel that his descent into madness in this episode is actually well handled. A lot happens in this episode, and while there are certain obvious contrivances in the plot, the key moments and the story as a whole are still being driven by the characters themselves.
Going slightly afield here (and going waaaaay into spoiler territory, be forewarned): your comment about Dukat, and the relative goodness of his new character direction, has got me thinking. It seems to me that if Dukat hadn't gone crazy, and had stayed active in the war working for the Dominion, it would have undercut the whole War Arc. Why? Because the stories would have made the war personal between Sisko and Dukat. Think about it. They'd been foes from day 1. The grand finale would've had to be Sisko and Dukat commanding opposing fleets, going after each other.

One of the great things about the War Arc was, well, how it drifted. Just like stuff does in real life. The Dominion War as depicted in "Behind The Lines" was completely different in its tone than what we saw in "The Siege of AR-558" or the Final Chapter. By the end of S7, the war had moved away from being driven by the characters' animosity for the enemy, or even their desire to defend the AQ, and had become a fact of life that had gotten away from everyone.

But if Dukat had stayed sane, I fear we would have ended up with the same sort of personalized story that we got with Sisko-Eddington, and that that would've overshadowed a lot of other things.

Also, Dukat clearly has a "thing" for Bajor. Yeah, he wants Cardassia strong, so he joins the Dominion and makes all this talk about conquering the Alpha Quadrant and stuff, but time and again, he demonstrates his fixation on Bajor, and to a lesser extent, Terok Nor and Captain Sisko. I honestly think that Dukat could've conquered the entire Federation Alliance, but if he didn't have Bajor, everything else would be irrelevant.

I've seen some really great psychoanalytic theories on Dukat here on the BBS, so I won't repeat those now, but suffice it to say that I don't think Dukat's current position was tenable long-term given his character. So I think where he ended up was much more appropriate to his character.

I wonder if the writers realized this consciously at the time.
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