Finished up the #2 and #3 podcasts of the Orb. Once more Christopher and Matthew did a bang up job. Here are some of my thoughts:
As far as I’m concerned DS9’s characters are the most fully formed and the ones that went through the greatest development. Of course some characters suffered more than others. Matt and Chris were spot on about Jake being underutilized and often forgotten. I recall an interview Ira S. Behr did sometime in 1999 or 2000 in which he admitted the he and the writers “dropped the ball” regarding Jake. That’s an understatement. And it still continues to amaze me considering TV never seems to lose its enthusiasm for peeking into the lives of teenaged males on the cusp of manhood. Yet TPTB of DS9 let Jake fall to the wayside during the final two seasons of the show.
Often when characters are barely used the reaction of viewers is typically that those characters weren’t that interesting and therefore that explained the lack of time and storylines devoted to them. My theory is that there are no such things as uninteresting characters but instead disinterested writers. Writers are human too and at times pick favorites or have moments in which they lack inspiration for one reason of another for specific characters. I believe Jake suffered from these issues and thus I don’t buy into the argument that he wasn’t as fascinating character as, say, Nog whose goal was to join Starfleet.
Jake was not simply the son of the commander of DS9, he was also the son of the Emissary. Considering the number of Bajorans working on the station and the little fact that the nearest planet to DS9 was Bajor itself, Jake’s situation could have been an interesting one to dwell into. How did Bajorans feel about Jake? Was there a title for him considering who his father was, was there a place in their religion for him, a role he was supposed to play. It could have been something as simple as Jake getting huge discounts from Bajoran vendors on the Promenade. Or perhaps he would have been treated like a dignitary, despite his opposition, whenever he visited Bajor. Maybe Jake could have accepted the idea of his father being the Emissary even before Benjamin Sisko himself did. As a result Jake could have been pulled into political disputes and upheavals on Bajor with members on either side of the debate attempting to sway him to their side in a way that Sisko never could be considering his role as a neutral Starfleet commander. Wouldn’t these political operatives think having the Son of Sisko on their side be an advantage to swaying the undecided; and wouldn’t they perhaps also feel there was a chance that Jake could persuade his father to take their side too? This is why I always wanted to see Jake interact with Bajorans especially those his own age. Having a steady Bajoran girlfriend could have been interesting considering all the possibilities. Mardah was too mature for Jake I suppose but TPTB at least had the right idea by giving Jake a Bajoran girlfriend in the first place.
And considering Jake was a writer what about writing holo-novels through which he can sell through Quark’s help and business contacts? There could have been an intriguing juxtaposition of Nog leaving towards Sisko’s example of a career path while Jake leaning more towards the commerce dominated world of Quark. If not that route then perhaps the writers could have persisted with their representation of Jake as a reporter covering a war. They could have sent Jake off the station and had him visit Federation colonies to interview citizens caught in the middle of the war going on with the Dominion as well as place him on actual Federation ships full of weary Starfleet personnel heading into the next battle. This could have done wonders in showing Jake’s development as an adult. And in Jake’s mind just maybe such assignments would have made him feel he was making up for literally running away from such an assignment during “Nor the Battle to the Strong.
As I kept watching DS9 I knew it was a pipe dream of something like this happening but I still felt the show had one more chance to use Jake in an interesting way during its final season. With the addition of Ezri who was not that far from Jake’s age I thought it was a no-brainer to pair the two. At the very least it would have added an interesting element and perhaps some tension between Sisko and the old man. It would have been priceless for Sisko to grapples that his one-time mentor (who was male) was now dating his son. And considering that Dax and Jake had known each other previously through different bodies for the Dax symbiont, how would that have affected whatever feelings Ezri and Jake developed for one another?
I spent a lot of time on Jake because of all the cast who were listed in the opening credits we got to see the least of him. But I must mention that Quark could have benefitted from a few more serious episodes in which he dealt with the dark side of the business he was in such as in the episode "Business As Usual". Maybe that would have been too B5-like. And I think Kira was well on her way as being the most developed and complex character ever on Trek, when TPTB seemed to put on the brakes with her sometime during season four. Perhaps they wanted to devote more time to other characters after Kira was so dominant during the first two years, but for whatever the reason Kira’s development didn’t pick up again until season seven.
Lastly I couldn’t agree more regarding Martok. In fact as far as I’m concerned Martok is the best Klingon character ever and always made any scene better. My one quibble however is that the Martok-Sisko interaction was far more interesting than Martok’s moments with Worf. Avery Brooks and J.G. Hertzler had excellent chemistry.
Edited to add that indeed the Cardassians are far more interesting than the Klingons.