Ln X wrote:
Spot on TheGodBen. This episode would have only worked out if it solely focused on the Benny Russell story but then it would not, could not, fit in with DS9's continuity which is great until it hints that the whole DS9 universe, the whole Star Trek universe, is perhaps nothing more than the imaginations of Benny which is something totally outrageous. It sort of kicks you in the teeth really about how one perceives Star Trek.
This is one of those things that writers often seem to find cute or thought-provoking and I just find annoying. Is Benny Russell real, writing sci-fi stories in 1950s New York? Or is Benjamin Sisko real, experiencing visions on a space station in the 24th century? Neither! They're both constructs of a bunch of Hollywood writers in the 1990s.
It's the sort of concept that can work if you think of it in advance and plan the narrative around it, but don't just throw it out there in the dying seasons of a show and expect fans to latch onto it. That just feels cheap to me.
Paper Moon wrote:
I actually don't see a need to attribute his changed attitude to a psychological condition. During Operation Return, Sisko was high on adrenaline. Now he's comparatively low and he's dealing with the consequences of a massively destructive war, without being able to do anything about it. He's experiencing huge levels of stress, and he even admits that everyone might have been expecting a let-up in the conflict after DS9 was retaken, which would then add disappointment on top of the stress.
You make some interesting points and I agree with a lot of what you say, but the core of my problem is right here. Like with Bashir's ego taking over in Statistical Probabilities
, I don't have a problem with Sisko feeling depressed and considering leaving Starfleet, it's just presented poorly. Some friend that we've never heard of before, but who is apparently of huge emotional significance to Sisko, dies off-screen and suddenly sends Sisko off the deep end. It comes across as incredibly artificial, and since that's the foundation of the entire episode it weakens the whole story.
When Jadzia dies and Sisko is isolated from the Prophets, it makes sense to me at that point for Sisko to lose faith and leave Starfleet behind, those are two elements of his life that have been established as being important to him. If the Benny Russell visions had come to Sisko following those events, that would have been much, much more satisfying to me as a viewer because it would have meant something. The framing story for Far Beyond the Stars
lacks that meaning that it really needs for me to get fully invested in it.
One Little Ship (**½)
This episode has to be one of the silliest concepts ever put into production on a Star Trek show. It almost seems to come from the mind of a ten year-old child playing with their Star Trek toys. The science behind it is completely absurd, and I'm certain that if anyone tried to shrink down people and objects in the way this episode suggests then the entire universe would implode. (That assertion is scientifically inaccurate.) But here's the thing, I used to be ten years old. In fact, I was ten years old longer than most people because that was a leap-year. And I did have Star Trek toys, especially those little Micro Machines Star Trek ships, and I used to fly them around the rooms of my house and pretend that they were a shrunk down version of the Enterprise fighting off a shrunk down Galor-class ship in the epic battle of the coffee table. So this episode, while completely ridiculous, appeals to that ten year-old within me and allows me to forgive the absurdity of it all.
The main plot is also kinda stupid though. The Jem'Hadar manage to capture the Defiant somehow and decide to bring it and the crew back to their territory for some reason. Because their First is completely incompetent, he reveals sensitive information about the divisions between Alpha and Gamma Jem'Hadar to Sisko, he allows Sisko and his crew to have access to the computer systems so that they can attempt to take back control of the ship, and he doesn't notice the noisy, glowing runabout flying around his head. With the Ferengi outsmarting the Vorta in The Magnificent Ferengi
and now this, you begin to wonder how the Dominion is actually winning the war. Then you remember that the Ferengi captured Starfleet's flagship once and you wonder how any of these races ever mastered spaceflight.
The episode also suffers from the fact that the divisions between the Alphas and the Gammas is never mentioned again, making this the only episode where it's an issue. It makes sense the the Dominion would breed new Jem'Hadar if only so that they can be drugged with something other than ketracel white, but I'm glad that they dropped the division between the two groups because it's kinda uninteresting. There's already a division forming between the Cardassians and the Dominion forces that promises to be far more interesting down the line, a conflict between different breeds of Jem'Hadar would just deflect attention away from that.