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

View Poll Results: Was the ending Deus Ex Machina?
Yes 24 37.50%
No 40 62.50%
Voters: 64. You may not vote on this poll

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Old October 28 2012, 12:14 AM   #16
iguana_tonante
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Re: Sacrifice of the Angels Ending A Deus Ex Machina?

Christopher wrote: View Post
The literary term "deus ex machina" doesn't refer to divine intervention per se, not these days anyway. It generally means a resolution that comes out of the blue, that doesn't arise logically out of anything previously established in the story and thus feels random and arbitrary.

I don't think that really applies here, since the Prophets and their great power had been well established over the course of the series. It was just a question of convincing them to get involved. If they'd just chosen arbitrarily to change their policies and intervene, if they'd just swooped down out of nowhere without any setup or justification, that would be a deus ex machina. But they only got involved because Sisko, the star of the series, stood up to them and convinced them to get involved. So it was the hero's actions that were ultimately responsible for resolving the crisis. That's what keeps it from being a deus ex machina ending.
Yep. This pretty much covers it.

MacLeod wrote: View Post
No it's not, it was clearly shown as early as the pilot episode that the wormhole aliens had influence of ships traversing the wormhole. So as they were using a device previoulsy used it can't be a deus ex machina.
So a pistolium Chekhovi.
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Old October 28 2012, 12:34 AM   #17
Vanyel
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Re: Sacrifice of the Angels Ending A Deus Ex Machina?

Jimi_James wrote: View Post
I don't think so, simply because it wasn't just something that happened out of the blue and was never mentioned again. As others have pointed out, they specifically showed on numerous occasions that the Prohpets could interfere with corporeal matters and had been doing so for some time.

It's also worth considering I think, that Sisko didn't simply ask and get what he wanted. It came with a price, which the Prophets came looking for when the time was right. He had to pay for their help and in doing so, was separated from his family and friends.

So it's not like the Prophets stepping in to save the day, was completely out of the blue and had no lasting effect. For me, if the prophets had never been mentioned or never gotten involved in anything before then, and the moment of facing all those ships was the point of their discovery and Sisko was able to convince them to get involved, and then they never returned to do anything ever again....that would have made it a Deus Ex Machina.

That's not how it played out though and as such, to me at least, it felt natural....at least as natural as non-linear wormhole aliens suddenly making 2800 Dominion ships vanish into nothingness, possibly can be.
That's the problem with the Prophets. They see all time as one. They now understand that corporeal beings see the past present and future, but that doesn't change how they see things.

They should have known the Dominion fleet was going to come through the wormhole and that the only way to save their Emissary was to destroy the Dominion fleet.

From our prospective it looks like they came to their decision at that moment, but if they truly see all time as one, their decision was made long before.

They talked about Sisko following a new path. More strange talk from a set of entities that see all time as one. Their was no new path, it was the one they knew he was going to take. They were f**king around with him, telling him his Pagh will follow a new path. They knew they were going to destroy the Dominion fleet. They knew they were going to bar the Dominion passage through the Wormhole. Yes it was never actually said but it was implied as no other Dominion fleets or ships tried to come through.

Sisko made no argument they hadn't already heard. They interfered because they were going to. Everything they did they did because they were going to.

They allowed the Dominion fleet into the wormhole because they were going to destroy it. They knew the path Sisko would take, they never changed it. They knew they could not stop the Pah Wraiths from taking over the Wormhole, so they sent one of their own out to not come back until needed.

They were written as all knowing, yet caught by surprise?

So since they knew what was happening, what was going to happen, that they would interfere does make it a Deus EX Machina. They were going to stop the fleet, no matter what because they saw it already.
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Old October 28 2012, 12:49 AM   #18
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Re: Sacrifice of the Angels Ending A Deus Ex Machina?

sonak's transporter ghost wrote: View Post
different scenario. Q CREATED the crisis in "Q Who," he was just fixing his own mess.

The Prophets didn't start the Dominion War, nor did they cause the occupation of DS9. They were fixing the Federation's mess there.
The only reason the Dominon are in the Alpha Quadrant is because the wormhole exists. No wormhole, no Dominon threat. The Prophets were also cleaning up their own mess.
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Old October 28 2012, 01:28 AM   #19
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Re: Sacrifice of the Angels Ending A Deus Ex Machina?

I don't know - were the Prophets really all-seeing? They weren't familiar with linear time, they seemed dimly aware of Bajor, but other than that they seemed pretty oblivious to what was happening at our simple corporeal level. Hardly omniscient. Seemed like Sisko was simply bringing the problem of the Dominion fleet to their attention.
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Old October 28 2012, 01:54 AM   #20
Vanyel
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Re: Sacrifice of the Angels Ending A Deus Ex Machina?

Pavonis wrote: View Post
I don't know - were the Prophets really all-seeing? They weren't familiar with linear time, they seemed dimly aware of Bajor, but other than that they seemed pretty oblivious to what was happening at our simple corporeal level. Hardly omniscient. Seemed like Sisko was simply bringing the problem of the Dominion fleet to their attention.
Paraphrasing, they said there is no difference between what was, what is and what will come. That would indicate all seeing.
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Old October 28 2012, 02:01 AM   #21
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Re: Sacrifice of the Angels Ending A Deus Ex Machina?

In one of my unused DS9 pitch ideas from years back, I planned to have a scene where a character -- I think it was Dax -- convinced the Prophet to help them or let them know about a problem they needed to address, and afterward she asked, "If you already knew this was going to happen, why did you need me to tell you first?" And they answered, "If you know you will exhale, why do you inhale?" The idea being that even if you know in advance that something will happen, that doesn't mean you can skip over the steps that lead to it.

Yes, all time is one to the Prophets, so they would've known "all along" that they would get rid of the Dominion fleet at Sisko's urging -- but the reason they knew that is because he urged them at that point in his timeline. It doesn't make sense, therefore, to say that they should've acted without him having to ask, because then he wouldn't have asked and they wouldn't have known to help. The process of cause and effect still had to play out in order to produce the shape of events. The fact that they can see all causes and effects simultaneously doesn't change that.
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Old October 28 2012, 02:08 AM   #22
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Re: Sacrifice of the Angels Ending A Deus Ex Machina?

Vanyel wrote: View Post
Pavonis wrote: View Post
I don't know - were the Prophets really all-seeing? They weren't familiar with linear time, they seemed dimly aware of Bajor, but other than that they seemed pretty oblivious to what was happening at our simple corporeal level. Hardly omniscient. Seemed like Sisko was simply bringing the problem of the Dominion fleet to their attention.
Paraphrasing, they said there is no difference between what was, what is and what will come. That would indicate all seeing.
They might be capable of seeing all, but only if they're looking. I don't think they consider our corporeal plane something worth paying attention to continuously. If they are all-seeing, then they can see across billions or trillions of years. Getting them to pay attention to what you want them to address has to take some effort.
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Old October 28 2012, 02:30 AM   #23
Vanyel
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Re: Sacrifice of the Angels Ending A Deus Ex Machina?

Pavonis wrote: View Post
Vanyel wrote: View Post
Pavonis wrote: View Post
I don't know - were the Prophets really all-seeing? They weren't familiar with linear time, they seemed dimly aware of Bajor, but other than that they seemed pretty oblivious to what was happening at our simple corporeal level. Hardly omniscient. Seemed like Sisko was simply bringing the problem of the Dominion fleet to their attention.
Paraphrasing, they said there is no difference between what was, what is and what will come. That would indicate all seeing.
They might be capable of seeing all, but only if they're looking. I don't think they consider our corporeal plane something worth paying attention to continuously. If they are all-seeing, then they can see across billions or trillions of years. Getting them to pay attention to what you want them to address has to take some effort.
Getting them to pay attention to you, is a point in time. If you have to point it out to them, it invalidates their whole premiss. What was, what is and what will be either is all one to them or it's not. If you have to get them to see one point in time, then they cannot see all time.
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Old October 28 2012, 02:47 AM   #24
Vanyel
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Re: Sacrifice of the Angels Ending A Deus Ex Machina?

Christopher wrote: View Post
In one of my unused DS9 pitch ideas from years back, I planned to have a scene where a character -- I think it was Dax -- convinced the Prophet to help them or let them know about a problem they needed to address, and afterward she asked, "If you already knew this was going to happen, why did you need me to tell you first?" And they answered, "If you know you will exhale, why do you inhale?" The idea being that even if you know in advance that something will happen, that doesn't mean you can skip over the steps that lead to it.

Yes, all time is one to the Prophets, so they would've known "all along" that they would get rid of the Dominion fleet at Sisko's urging -- but the reason they knew that is because he urged them at that point in his timeline. It doesn't make sense, therefore, to say that they should've acted without him having to ask, because then he wouldn't have asked and they wouldn't have known to help. The process of cause and effect still had to play out in order to produce the shape of events. The fact that they can see all causes and effects simultaneously doesn't change that.
If they had not helped Sisko would have died. They knew they would have to destroy the Dominion fleet.
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Old October 28 2012, 03:14 AM   #25
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Re: Sacrifice of the Angels Ending A Deus Ex Machina?

But "they knew" -- in the sense that they knew in advance -- is a meaningless concept when talking about the Prophets. To them, all times are one. It's all right now to them. So there is no "when did they know it," there's just "what did they know."

Besides, what are you suggesting? That they should've stopped the fleet earlier? The fleet wasn't coming through the wormhole earlier. They acted at the only point where that particular action was relevant.
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Old October 28 2012, 03:48 AM   #26
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Re: Sacrifice of the Angels Ending A Deus Ex Machina?

I always liked that DS9 was willing to take chances and do things that are unexpected. At the beginning of the episode I was fairly certain they'd stop the Dominion from taking down the minefield either by sabotage or the fleet breaking through.

Well surprise both the saboteurs and Defiant were too slow! Sure it's a convenient handwave solution, but it's one that was surprising and it worked. It's not as if this came completely out of the blue and it's perfectly feasible that they have "godlike" power in the wormhole they constructed for themselves to live in.

Things like this were really why DS9 was my favorite series. They'd go out on a limb and do something against the grain or unexpected. Actually my biggest gripe with the episode was why did the Klingon fleet not go directly at DS9 itself? The Federation fleet had the Dominion/Cardassian forces tied down and the stakes were clearly outlined as victory or else death. Personally I thought it'd be very in character for Gowron to have the Klingon forces take all the glory and let the Federation take it on the chin.
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Old October 28 2012, 03:59 AM   #27
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Re: Sacrifice of the Angels Ending A Deus Ex Machina?

MacLeod wrote: View Post
So my question is to those that voted yes, how are you defining the term "Deus ex Machina"?
A complete cop out that comes out of nowhere in the current story.

Sure, the wormhole prophets had been well established in the SERIES.

But during the Dominion War, IIRC they had never been seen or even referred to in any way whatsoever.

I think the writers basically pulled them out of their ass when they realized that "Hey!, there is no way we can plausibly have the Federation/Klingon forces win".

or more probably

"Hey, we've already blown the effects budget. No way we can show a big battle in and around Deep Space Nine now".

By the way, I've always hoped to do a YouTube video where the Dominion reinforcements are actually wiped out when the Defiant releases a monstrously huge specialized warhead inside the wormhole.

And only a fraction of the Dominion ships escape into the Alpha Quadrant (following the fleeing Defiant)...but they are then cut down by the Federation/Klingon fleet along with DS9s firepower (controlled by Rom).
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Old October 28 2012, 06:33 AM   #28
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Re: Sacrifice of the Angels Ending A Deus Ex Machina?

Knight Templar wrote: View Post
By the way, I've always hoped to do a YouTube video where the Dominion reinforcements are actually wiped out when the Defiant releases a monstrously huge specialized warhead inside the wormhole.
So...a tech-based cop out instead? The Prophets are a well-established part of the DS9 universe. Unlike a brand new super-duper warhead that is never used again.
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Old October 28 2012, 08:00 AM   #29
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Re: Sacrifice of the Angels Ending A Deus Ex Machina?

I consider the act Deus Ex because it's basically phenomenally cosmic beings waving a magic wand and solving an unsolvable problem for the protagonists. That's not heroic no matter what way you spin it. Sisko being a religious figure to the Prophets, and part Prophet due to his conception. Really doesn't help. It's basically Sisko begging his extended supernatural family for a REALLY BIG FAVOR. He even says he needs a "miracle". By Sisko's admission during his conversation with the Prophets, the Prophets had sent the Bajorans, Orbs, Emissarys, and "encouraged" the Bajorans to create a religion based around the Prophets. Sisko proved the Prophets are very much involved in corporeal matters.

With regards to Sisko's Pah set to follow a different path. Wasn't season 6 episode 21 'The Reckoning' also slated to be the final destiny for the Emissary? It's amusing how all knowing, all seeing beings as the Prophets can't foresee so many alterations to their own designs.

With reagrds to 'Q Who', the Enterprise is transported to what I assume is the Delta Quad. by Q, in an attempt show Picard how unprepared he and the Federation are against the then unknown threat. After an exchange in battle and a desperate run away attempt, Q taunts Picard saying that he's locked in combat with a force he can't win against and should've stayed where he belonged. Humbled Picard asks for Q's help, in which Q sends the ship right back to where they were before he transported them to the Delta Quad. After that Q doesn't gloat but acknowledges Picards admission in a no win situation he had put them in. Picard didn't ask Q to destroy the cube/fight his battles for him.

While I do enjoy the theme SFDebris brought up about the Founders being false gods and the Prophets being the true gods. There is something diminishing about the Federations victory because it's basically "Fuck the Dominion we have GOD on our side".

Last edited by AllStarEntprise; October 28 2012 at 08:24 AM.
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Old October 28 2012, 10:27 AM   #30
MacLeod
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Re: Sacrifice of the Angels Ending A Deus Ex Machina?

Knight Templar wrote: View Post
MacLeod wrote: View Post
So my question is to those that voted yes, how are you defining the term "Deus ex Machina"?
A complete cop out that comes out of nowhere in the current story.

Sure, the wormhole prophets had been well established in the SERIES.

But during the Dominion War, IIRC they had never been seen or even referred to in any way whatsoever.

I think the writers basically pulled them out of their ass when they realized that "Hey!, there is no way we can plausibly have the Federation/Klingon forces win".

or more probably

"Hey, we've already blown the effects budget. No way we can show a big battle in and around Deep Space Nine now".

By the way, I've always hoped to do a YouTube video where the Dominion reinforcements are actually wiped out when the Defiant releases a monstrously huge specialized warhead inside the wormhole.

And only a fraction of the Dominion ships escape into the Alpha Quadrant (following the fleeing Defiant)...but they are then cut down by the Federation/Klingon fleet along with DS9s firepower (controlled by Rom).
Being a cop-out is not the same as a deus ex machina.
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