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Deep Space Nine What We Left Behind, we will always have here.

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Old February 16 2012, 02:46 PM   #976
Admiral Shran
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Deep Space Nine

It's all good.

Of course, if you want, I could go into a long diatribe about why I don't like Jadzia again.
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Old February 16 2012, 06:35 PM   #977
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Deep Space Nine

Shakaar (**½)

One of DS9's problems is that as the show develops it loses focus on one of the few things that made the first two seasons interesting; Bajoran politics. With the Cardassians playing a greater role, the introduction of the Maquis and the Dominion, and the upcoming re-emergence of the Klingons, Bajor stories falls by the wayside. Shakaar is an episode that attempts to rectify that, so it's a pity that it ends up coming off so awkward. The story is rushed, the rise and fall of Winn as First Minister isn't well thought out. Firstly, I'm shocked that it was even allowed to happen. The position of Kai seems to be a combination of the role of space pope and head of state, so the idea that the Bajoran constitution doesn't enforce a separation of powers to prevent the Kai from leading the government is odd to say the least. Weirder still that she's able to be appointed First Minister without first being elected to the Chamber of Ministers. I know that constitutional politics has never been a strong point for Trek (Why were so many members of the Federation Council admirals in Starfleet?) but what kind of bastardised version of democracy are the Bajorans running here?

Anyway, Kai Winn is made First Minister and she's so incompetent at it that her first initiative blows up in her face spectacularly, costing her the job. Part of the problem here is that I don't know why. As I said, the episode is rushed, and at one point the episode jumps two weeks ahead where everything is different and I don't know why that's the case. At the start of the episode Winn has the support of the majority of Bajorans, two weeks later her support completely collapses, enough for civilian riots to break out and for the military to turn on her. She, as head of government, completely failed to explain her point of view to the Bajoran people while some people cut off from civilization in the mountains somewhere utterly rout her in the PR war. Just how incompetent can she possibly be? This episode needed to be at least a two-parter, we needed to see why the people turned on Winn, and Kira deciding to rebel needed to be a bigger deal than just another part of the plot.

Overall, the episode is okay. It has a lot of the right ideas it just doesn't capitalise on them effectively. It's like a spiritual successor to season 1's Progress but without the emotional conflict that made that episode interesting. Kira reuniting with her old friends from the resistance is good to watch. The episode also has John Doman from The Wire, who is sadly forced to cut back on his magnificent swearing.

Meanwhile, O'Brien is in the zone. This plot is okay, it's just fluff that feels a bit out of place. Kira is off rebelling on Bajor and all her friends care about is O'Brien's ability to throw darts.

The episode almost qualifies for a Stupid French Thing, but not quite.
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Old February 16 2012, 07:03 PM   #978
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Deep Space Nine

Where are you getting the idea that a lot of admirals are also members of the Federation Council? I haven't seen any recent'ish novels or anything in canon indicate that, but maybe I missed something?
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Old February 16 2012, 07:35 PM   #979
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Deep Space Nine

The Kai was going after a National (World) hero of the Resistance with deadly force, trying to take away the Reclamators they had every right too. The people wouldn't stand for that, that's why Shakaar won the PR War and the Kai had it all blow up her. She was too agressive
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Old February 16 2012, 07:50 PM   #980
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Deep Space Nine

DonIago wrote: View Post
Where are you getting the idea that a lot of admirals are also members of the Federation Council? I haven't seen any recent'ish novels or anything in canon indicate that, but maybe I missed something?
He's referring to Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. During that film's scenes in the Federation Council Chambers, many of the council members are wearing uniform.

For my part, I like to assume that former serving officers are permitted to wear ceremonial uniform after leaving the service to enter politics, but that's just my fannish means of avoiding the problems TheGodBen refers to.
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Old February 16 2012, 09:12 PM   #981
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Deep Space Nine

Yeah, Star Trek IV, that's the one I'm thinking of. Here's a pic.
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Old February 16 2012, 09:22 PM   #982
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Deep Space Nine

TheGodBen wrote: View Post
Yeah, Star Trek IV, that's the one I'm thinking of. Here's a pic.
Not to get too off-topic here, but how explicitly are we told that that particular group is, in fact, the whole Federation Council? I think I once heard it suggested that it might be some sub-committee (or something like a Security Council) and/or may include Starfleet observers, in which case the oddly high ratio of uniforms to civilians wouldn't be quite so out-of-place.
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Old February 16 2012, 09:49 PM   #983
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Deep Space Nine

Was this the one with (the actor who played) Deputy Rawls? If so, shouldn't alone that bump it up a star or two?
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Old February 16 2012, 10:06 PM   #984
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Deep Space Nine

space pope
Hee. This made me giggle. Space pope ... hee. I'm silly like that.
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Old February 17 2012, 12:11 AM   #985
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Deep Space Nine

I have trouble recalling Shakaar freely. I think that goes for his character for most of his time on DS9, as well as this episode. I appreciated what the writers were trying to do with him, but I just never found him particularly inspiring. I was glad when he disappeared again.

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I love a bit of Winn usually but the use of her here isn't thought out properly. She's just the obstacle in the way of getting Shakaar into power, and it's all a bit contrived.

I loved Kira's old friends though. They were far more interesting, and I loved that they later reappear in The Darkness and The Light.

And O'Brien's story, while funny, is symptomatic of a few of Trek's B or C stories where other members of the cast are occupied with something frivalous whilst their friends are caught up in all kinds of danger. Live together, die alone perhaps?
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Old February 17 2012, 07:17 AM   #986
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Deep Space Nine

DonIago wrote: View Post
Where are you getting the idea that a lot of admirals are also members of the Federation Council? I haven't seen any recent'ish novels or anything in canon indicate that, but maybe I missed something?
There's also the episode Rapture, where Bajor's admittance to the Federation is presided over by a Starfleet admiral, not someone from the civilian government of the U.F.P. Not to mention that the scene where the ceremony is to officially take place (until Sisko ends it with his visionary warning), where almost 75% of the people representing the Federation are from Starfleet.

As for Shakaar, here's my problem with it - it's shallow. Neither Shakaar nor Winn is allowed to argue their case convincingly - it's all too rushed, as TheGodBen points out, and all this important information is jettisoned. Now given that I'm a libertarian, I'm inclined to take Shakaar's side, most especially when the shock troops are sent in. But he just comes off as too stubborn. If they had taken the time to outline why the situation in the province was so bad, it would have helped. "Feeding our people" just isn't enough of a justification. Are we dealing with a famine? Are we dealing with massive numbers of children suffering from malnutrition? You got to give me something more concrete to argue against Winn's desire to spur the entire Bajoran economy.

Then, of course, there's the problem of Duncan Regehr having absolutely zero chemistry with Nana Visitor. And I have a hard time believing this guy had the force of personality to hold together a struggling resistance cell, just saying.

Overall though, I do think it's an above average episode - maybe three stars, as it's definitely libertarian in theme. We have a government that fails to keep its promises, a local leader facing a hopeless situation who is sick of said government and an villain who is willing to bring about the "collective good" at the point of a gun. Good stuff. It's a shame it's harmed by a mediocre script and acting.
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Old February 17 2012, 06:21 PM   #987
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Deep Space Nine

Facets (**½)

Facets is a weird episode because its main story is barely a story at all, it's a collection of seven conversations between Jadzia and Dax's former hosts. What makes it weirder is that it rushes through the first five hosts so that it can get to the interesting two, and the second half of the story focuses on Curzon. It kinda makes you wonder what the point of Dax having so many past lives is if only one of them is really worth a damn. I suppose Joran is worth half a damn. Avery Brooks as Joran sure is memorable, he finally has a legitimate output for all that crazy, but I must confess that I'm not a big fan of the scene due to the writing. Joran is just too crazy. In Equilibrium he seemed like a mostly normal guy that had violent impulses that he couldn't control and one day he broke and murdered someone. In this episode he's completely psychotic and that's the core of his entire being. How did a guy like that ever pass any sort of psychological evaluation? It just doesn't make sense and it's not as interesting as my previous understanding of the character as a normal guy that's a bit unhinged.

Then Curzon shows up. The episode claims that this isn't Curzon but a joining of Curzon and Odo, but I see very little Odo in the character beyond his memories. Curzon also suffers from the same problem as Joran, it's just too much crazy and not enough normal. This guy is supposed to be a great ambassador, but it appears that he went to the same school of diplomacy as the Wadi from Move Along Home. The episode plays up the revelation that Curzon was secretly in love with Jadzia, but that just begs the question of how the host/symbiont relationship works. If Jadzia has Curzon's memories, how does she not know all this stuff already? Does the host have the ability to encrypt memories so future hosts can't access them? I suppose they must otherwise this whole magic ritual would be pointless. In the end Odo and Jadzia have a talk where they both express that they have new treasured memories and they've learned a lot from this experience, but neither of them does and the show goes on as normal.

The better story of this episode is Nog's attempt to pass some of Starfleet's strict entrance exams. Once again the word I will use to describe this plot is "pleasant". Nog gets to show his determination, Rom gets to stand up for his son, and Quark gets to complain about the evils of root beer.

Form of... a Curzon: 15
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Old February 17 2012, 07:08 PM   #988
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Deep Space Nine

TheGodBen wrote: View Post
Joran is just too crazy. In Equilibrium he seemed like a mostly normal guy that had violent impulses that he couldn't control and one day he broke and murdered someone. In this episode he's completely psychotic and that's the core of his entire being. How did a guy like that ever pass any sort of psychological evaluation? It just doesn't make sense and it's not as interesting as my previous understanding of the character as a normal guy that's a bit unhinged.
I acknowledge that this might be more fodder for the "Trill symbiosis is poorly explained" complaint, but I have a possible theory for that. Perhaps it's because we're not seeing Joran as his truly realized self in an objective manner, but rather the Joran that Jadzia must confront to achieve full equilibrium? Which would be in keeping with the supposed point of the rite. So while it is indeed the "true" Joran it's also a distorted reflection of him as well, with certain of his traits ascendant and others suppressed. Same guy, but different arrangement? I mean, even if we accept the premise that the hosts' personality is indeed "stored" accurately along with memory and experience (which of course we must for this episode to make sense), that "pattern" is operating as filtered through, or interacting with, two or three wholly different brains, nervous systems and personalities. Physiologically and spiritually, Jadzia isn't Joran and nor is Sisko. Seeing as his memories are new to her, Jadzia presumably has less experience in incorporating Joran into herself compared to other hosts, and those aspects of him which are most disturbing and difficult would be the remorseless killer. So perhaps the Joran she projects is a Joran whose personal aspects are weighted towards what she still needs to confront? So Sisko has Joran, but only parts of him, and the true balance and ratios of the character aren't in evidence. Is the zhian'tara a full transplant, or just a transfer of those aspects the current host could do with understanding better? And I guess Sisko's nervous system might be having trouble too, and only certain facets of the personality pattern are getting through - maybe Sisko subconsciously rejects hosting the remorseless killer parts, and so in turn "projects" them outward?
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Old February 17 2012, 07:57 PM   #989
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Deep Space Nine

Personally I really liked Facets overall, but I do wish we got to see more of the first five hosts and I agree with the criticism of Joran's portrayal (though it was fun seeing Avery Brooks go nutty). I liked Joran's appearance later on to Ezri better, more of a balance.
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Old February 17 2012, 08:46 PM   #990
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Deep Space Nine

Yeah I quite like Facets. I agree that the rush through the start was a bit much, though. It sort of felt like they were obligated to give them a bit of screen time, as opposed to wanting to devlop them in a meaningful way. Especially since the revelation at the end about Curzon loving Jadzia being a bit odd since surely Jadzia would have his memories.

I loved seeing unhinged Sisko/Joran, even though that didn't jibe with his earlier appearance. It was fun seeing Avery letting loose, and would be a hint of some of the range he would hit later in the series.

I always find it a bit strange that Leeta was asked to be one of the temporary hosts. Hadn't she been in like one episode before this? Although I suppose that the station is on the edge of the known frontier, so it's entirely plausible that there's plenty of time for Jadzia and Leeta to become gal pals!
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