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Old June 9 2013, 03:52 AM   #16
Ancient Mariner
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Re: Was I the only one who disliked Far Beyond the Stars?

RandyS wrote: View Post
I didn't dislike the episode, I just didn't understand it. And I'm not talking about the social commentary. That was pretty obvious. What eluded me was why did the Prophets give Sisko a vision about 1953 New York when he started the episode depressed about the death of a friend? That particular plot point was brought up, but then went nowhere. The Prophets' motives seems incoherent in this one.
Actually, the motive is perfectly clear. As I wrote when I first watched the episode a few years ago:
The episode is structured around the crisis of confidence and strength Sisko begins to feel as the casualties and rigors of war with the Dominion continue to mount. He receives bad news about an old acquaintance and it proves to very nearly be the final straw. As he tells his father, who is visiting the station, “I don’t know how much more of this I can take.” Sisko, who carries the titles of Captain and Emissary, is beginning to buckle under the pressures of expectations. And he wonders whether or not to simply step down from his post. His father counsels him, saying, “You’ve got some thinking to do.”

The episode, then, is a journey for Sisko, showing him how important it is to “fight the good fight.”

...

More important than the fiery, impassioned final plea of Benny (“I am a human being!) are the rationalizations of the various characters, demonstrating how prejudice can be created, continued and fought by excuses, arguments and actions. There are very few actual “villains” in the episode. But the moral standing of each character is on clear display. And that, really, is what makes the exploration into Benny’s life so compelling and powerful. More than simply saying, “Benny good – Douglas bad,” the episode shows us characters who struggle with or hide from important social issues, issues which have a very real affect on the lives of people.

All of this is designed to show our hero, Ben Sisko, that his fight against the Dominion is worth fighting. That stepping down would be tantamount to accepting Dominion rule, to enabling the oppressors. It’s another layer of the story that works very, very well.
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