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

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Old January 18 2013, 12:55 AM   #1756
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Deep Space Nine

Seven of Five wrote: View Post
I think Jonathon Archer just wishes he was half a man to start of with.


Yes... he does.
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Old January 22 2013, 03:08 PM   #1757
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Deep Space Nine

R. Star wrote: View Post
Seven of Five wrote: View Post
I think Jonathon Archer just wishes he was half a man to start of with.


Yes... he does.
Which episode of Babylon 5 is that from again?


Once More Unto the Breach (***½)

Klingons are an odd bunch, they appear to be the most beloved of Star Trek's alien species, but it's very easy to get bored with their obsession with honour and bloodshed. As the last of the dedicated Klingon episodes, this episode suffers some for going over old ground, but it does enough differently to be an enjoyable episode. If Soldiers of the Empire was a generic Klingon episode, then this is more like a very special Klingon episode that explores the serious topic of ageing and dementia.

Kor is like the Klingons' version of Kirk, but while Kirk disappointed his admirers by falling off a bridge to save generic cave-dwelling species #238, Kor disappointed his admirers by failing to die. Now he's old and has the Klingon version of Alzheimer's, and he can't get a command of his own any more. Worf agrees to help him without bothering to check if Kor is mentally fit for command, and this results in a bunch of people dying unnecessary deaths. Kor makes a fool of himself in the middle of a battle and gets the date wrong by about a century, causing all the other Klingons to laugh at him. Still, could be worse, he could have developed incontinence as well.

In the end, the message is clear; people with dementia should commit suicide. Not wanting to go the Dignitas route, Kor decides to go out in a blaze of glory by stealing a ship and taking on a small fleet of Dominion vessels by himself. Thus, Kor gets a fitting mythic end that Klingons will sing songs about for generations, and he saved on travel costs to Switzerland.

The episode is good for the most part, but it feels very staged, with some scenes feeling particularly artificial. It was nice to see Kor one last time, and his death was fitting for the Klingon Kirk. It could have done without the b-story though, the sub-plot about Quark being in love with Ezri is just kinda pathetic.
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Old January 22 2013, 06:05 PM   #1758
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Deep Space Nine

TheGodBen wrote: View Post
Which episode of Babylon 5 is that from again?
I think it was the B5/ENT/QL crossover special but I could be wrong. Scott Bakula played everyone I think.

I find Once More Unto The Breach a bit boring. It's okay at first when Kor appears, but the rest just kind of meanders away.
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Old January 23 2013, 02:03 AM   #1759
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Deep Space Nine

I couldn't stand this episode; it made me feel so uncomfortable. I felt bad for Martok, of all people. I can't stand hero worship, especially when I know Kor's going to metaphorically crap his pants later. So I stopped at the scene in the mess hall when that one klingon is getting their nose extra brown, and then Martok walks in.

Same thing happened when Sisko kicks Rom off the team in the baseball episode. I guess I just have too much empathy, or something. I should play more violent video games.
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Old January 23 2013, 05:36 AM   #1760
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Deep Space Nine

I'm one of those crazy Klingon fans so I really liked this one. I especially like the look into Martok's backstory more than anything else.

TheGodBen wrote: View Post
If Soldiers of the Empire was a generic Klingon episode, then this is more like a very special Klingon episode that explores the serious topic of ageing and dementia.
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Old January 23 2013, 02:49 PM   #1761
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Deep Space Nine

TheRoyalFamily wrote: View Post
I guess I just have too much empathy, or something. I should play more violent video games.
Oh my, yes. Grand Theft Auto completely removed all my empathy for other people. Not because of the violence, but because the cars don't use their indicator lights when changing lanes, and they'll pull out right in front of you. That lousy piece of AI programming has encouraged me to kill thousands of NPCs.

Speaking of senseless violence...


The Siege of AR-558 (****½)

AR-558, the planet so unimportant that nobody bothered to give it a name. You'd think they'd call it Chin'toka VI or somesuch, but then the show would lose the point that people are fighting and dying to secure a planet that in peacetime wasn't important enough to have a name. But there's some sort of Macguffin on the planet that the Federation are fighting to secure, and now Sisko and his crew are stuck in the middle of it. And Quark is there. Why? Because fuck Quark, that's why.

There are four main characters on the planet:
  • Lt Larkin is a woman that's not wearing make-up, thus proving how serious a situation this is.
  • Reese is a soldier that wears the ketracel-white tubes of all the Jem'Hadar he has killed, because wearing neck-bones would be too grisly for a human in a Star Trek show.
  • Vargas is a meth dealer who tried to expand into the ketracel-white business, but things went south and now he's stuck on this rock.
  • Lennier is a Ranger, but after an incident involving President Sheridan he ran away and joined Starfleet.

This episode uses every war movie cliché in the big book of war movie clichés, and that does harm the episode a little. But overall this is a vital tale that DS9 needed to tell before the end of the war. What we mostly see of the Dominion War is the epic space battles where spaceships and torpedoes wizz by one another in an exciting light-show of computer-generated explosions. You can't convey the horror of war that way. DS9 needed to visit the troops on the front lines and see how they were holding up, and the unsurprising answer is that they're not doing well. For all the pressures we've seen the DS9 cast have to go through in this war, they've been living in luxury compared to the troops on AR-558.

While I make fun of Quark being on the mission for no good reason, he does serve an important role in the story as the observer who can see what the war is really doing to these people. I wish we had seen more of this Quark than the greedy misogynist he often is. And this is a major episode for Nog, obviously, but I guess I'll leave that are of discussion for It's Only a Paper Moon.
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Old January 23 2013, 03:11 PM   #1762
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Deep Space Nine

TheGodBen wrote: View Post
  • Lennier is a Ranger, but after an incident involving President Sheridan he ran away and joined Starfleet.
I wonder if he's weating a wig or


Anyway, I fully agree with our assessment of AR-558. It's a really powerful, and painful, episode, despite it's huge amounts of cliches. It's impressive for making Nor the Battle to the Strong seem cheerful by comparison too.
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Old January 23 2013, 06:38 PM   #1763
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Deep Space Nine

Worf'sParmach wrote: View Post
I'm one of those crazy Klingon fans so I really liked this one. I especially like the look into Martok's backstory more than anything else.

I can get bored with Klingon episodes pretty quickly, but I've always really liked this one. Martok is awesome, there are some interesting dimensions added to Klingon lore, and I've always liked how the Klingons break out into song at the end.

TheGodBen wrote: View Post
I wish we had seen more of this Quark than the greedy misogynist he often is.
I wish we'd seen more of it, too. Quark is a character that could have been handled much better as the show evolved over time, imo. He's a real strength of the show in the early going because he works so well as part of the ensemble cast, but as the show started to focus more on smaller chunks of the cast, he tended to get shafted a bit. Vic Fontaine's emergence didn't help either.

In retrospect, I think a better choice overall would have been to stay away from developing the Ferengi culture, or trying to use them for slapstick comedy, and instead focusing on making Quark the show's wry or cynical commentator on human nature. He has some great moments in the later seasons when he is doing this, but they tend to be a little brief.
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Old January 23 2013, 09:30 PM   #1764
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Deep Space Nine

TheGodBen wrote: View Post
Lennier is a Ranger, but after an incident involving President Sheridan he ran away and joined Starfleet.
I was quite stunned to discover that B5 episode and this aired the same week. It does make you wonder... *X-Files Theme*
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Old January 23 2013, 09:58 PM   #1765
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Deep Space Nine

Worf'sParmach wrote: View Post
I'm one of those crazy Klingon fans so I really liked this one. I especially like the look into Martok's backstory more than anything else.
That felt a bit forced by the writers for me to give the ep some fake antagonism. But the actors pulled it off. I love Colicos' Kor, even if he is a bit ripe Just as a good klingon should be. Just about works as a last hurrah. AR really is dull and cliched, follow-up even more so.
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Old January 24 2013, 02:45 PM   #1766
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Deep Space Nine

flemm wrote: View Post
In retrospect, I think a better choice overall would have been to stay away from developing the Ferengi culture, or trying to use them for slapstick comedy, and instead focusing on making Quark the show's wry or cynical commentator on human nature. He has some great moments in the later seasons when he is doing this, but they tend to be a little brief.
I agree completely. Quark is a great character that is sadly remembered for a lot of bad, silly episodes. The insistence on centring comedic episodes around him devalued the character, and by the final season he was treated less seriously than his nephew.


Covenant (**½)

Over the Christmas period, I found myself reading about Jim Jones and the Jonestown massacre. I know what you're thinking, it's not the most festive story in the world, but it was one of those events that I knew of but didn't know much about, so I read through the wikipedia articles on the subject. Reading that story made me feel anger, revulsion, fear, and sadness... and all my nerdy brain could think was "I wonder why Star Trek never did a story about cults and mass suicides." Then I remembered that Covenant existed and thought "Oh yeah. I wish they'd have given it a proper go."

Cults are fascinating, tragic things, and Covenant fails to capture that fully. The problem is that Covenant is a Dukat episode above all else, the cult is just a way for us to see a new side of Dukat and set up his allegiance to the Pah-wraiths. As such, it's not a bad episode. Dukat's motivation in this episode makes sense, he finally has what he has sought all along; the adoration of Bajorans that he rules over. But at the same time, he genuinely does believe in the Pah-wraiths and presents himself as the anti-Emissary as a direct challenge to Sisko. He's mad, but there's a twisted form of sense to his madness.

Some people take issue with the fact that the Bajorans in this episode are really dumb, and it's a legitimate complaint. But cults don't operate on a wavelength that most people can understand. The idea of poisoning my child before poisoning myself as a form of "revolutionary suicide" makes no sense to me. Poisoning myself in the belief that I'll be transported to an alien spaceship is one of the most ludicrous concepts I can imagine. But some people believe enough in order to do those things. Nothing the cult believes in this episode is particularly outlandish when compared with what people can be made to believe in the real world.

Except, perhaps, the ending, which is far too simple. It's revealed that Dukat isn't planning on killing himself, and the entire cult instantaneously get some sense and turn on him. Then Dukat gives a mad rant and runs away to pester the DS9 crew another day. It's a rushed ending that doesn't do the concept justice. How did the cult-members react after the initial anger wore off? Nobody knows, the episode wasn't interested in addressing it, instead we get a lame statement from Kira about how Dukat is "more dangerous than ever!"
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Old January 24 2013, 04:43 PM   #1767
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Deep Space Nine

I find Covenant a mostly okay episode, mainly thanks to Dukat and Kira being such great characters. But I do agree the episode kind of fails to portray the cult well. I find it rather ironic that Babylon 5 portrayed a far more creepy cult who were supposed to be more or less sympathetic than DS9 portrayed a more or less villainous cult. I suppose that's a bit of a failure for both shows.
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Old January 24 2013, 04:52 PM   #1768
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Deep Space Nine

TheGodBen wrote: View Post
It's a rushed ending that doesn't do the concept justice. How did the cult-members react after the initial anger wore off? Nobody knows, the episode wasn't interested in addressing it, instead we get a lame statement from Kira about how Dukat is "more dangerous than ever!"
Yeah, it's one of those cases where an episode introduces and then dismisses too many ideas, or too much material, at once for the whole thing to be really convincing.

Kira and Dukat work well together, though. Always have. There's a sense in which Kira is really a much more natural protagonist for the show than Sisko. The writers try to wrap up the Eddington story and make Dukat Sisko's nemesis, but Kira and Dukat are more natural adversaries. Especially since there's this sometimes-a-little-creepy sexual tension between them.

On the whole, as a fan of DS9, I do wish the whole Prophets/Emissary storyline had been handled in a way that stands up to more scrutiny and repeated viewings. There are quite a few good ideas there, but they never get the development they deserve, and are tied off too abruptly.

TheGodBen wrote: View Post
I agree completely. Quark is a great character that is sadly remembered for a lot of bad, silly episodes. The insistence on centring comedic episodes around him devalued the character, and by the final season he was treated less seriously than his nephew.
Probably he needed to be given something to do other than "be the bartender." In the early going, that was ok, because DS9's world had not yet expanded very far beyond the station, and the ensemble cast was still relatively small.

In the later seasons, though, it's no longer enough to keep Quark involved in ways that matter. He even starts to be over-shadowed a bit by Vic Fontaine.

Nog really benefits from getting involved with Starfleet and the Dominion War in a direct way, of course, but that wouldn't work for Quark. Occasionally, Quark can be brought along, as is the case in The Seige of AR-558, but that doesn't work as a regular thing. So, I'm not sure what that other role would have been, exactly. But... probably he needed to be given some more or some different responsibilities somewhere.

Edit:
Now that I think about it, perhaps the thing to do would have been to expand his role as a galactic business man, but in ways that weren't mainly comic (though maybe they occasionally could have been). He could keep the bar, but also have other interests elsewhere, and perhaps sometimes in ways that were relevant to the war in the later seasons.

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Old January 25 2013, 03:14 PM   #1769
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Deep Space Nine

apenpaap wrote: View Post
I find Covenant a mostly okay episode, mainly thanks to Dukat and Kira being such great characters. But I do agree the episode kind of fails to portray the cult well. I find it rather ironic that Babylon 5 portrayed a far more creepy cult who were supposed to be more or less sympathetic than DS9 portrayed a more or less villainous cult. I suppose that's a bit of a failure for both shows.
Maybe if the cult of the Pah-wraiths had better hair we would have had a better impression of them? Dukat has a bit of a mullet going on, it's hard to respect that. Byron's hair was dreamy.

flemm wrote: View Post
Kira and Dukat work well together, though. Always have. There's a sense in which Kira is really a much more natural protagonist for the show than Sisko. The writers try to wrap up the Eddington story and make Dukat Sisko's nemesis, but Kira and Dukat are more natural adversaries. Especially since there's this sometimes-a-little-creepy sexual tension between them.
Agreed, Kira/Dukat is a more interesting dynamic than Sisko/Dukat. But I guess Sisko is the captain and the star of the show, so he's the one that gets to face off against the villain.


It's Only a Paper Moon (****)

I'm going to say something utterly unsurprising and say that Nog is the best Ferengi character in Star Trek. It's not because he's the least Ferengi-like Ferengi, it's because he's the Ferengi that most closely matches the spirit of 20th century humans, which is what it's claimed the Ferengi are all about. Modern humans care about profit and accumulating things, sure. But that's not all we care about. Nog wants to be rich in the same way that the rest of us do, but it's not the driving force behind his whole life. He has other things he wants to do, he wants to be a better person, and if he makes some money along the way then that would be swell.

This is part of the reason why Paper Moon works so well, Nog's not just an eager Ensign out to prove himself, he's more like the audience than most of the characters in the show. O'Brien, Bashir, and Sisko all seem like they could handle losing a leg, even Jake seems like he could come to terms with it. But for Nog it's a huge deal, just like it would be for any of us. What they've done with this character is really impressive, and as the only episode to centre on the character this episode earns extra credit. This episode is also the final step in Nog's transformation from young thug to respected officer, which is easily one of the most impressive character arcs in the franchise.

This episode was also about Vic, and they did a damn good job here as well. Before, Vic was unnecessary fluff added to a show that already contained a lot of fluff. This episode finally proves Vic's worth as a member of the ensemble, not just because of his role aiding Nog through his trauma, but also because this is the first time Vic actually gets to act like a real person. He gets to live a life and develop a real friendship with another person, and he's willing to sacrifice the former for the good of the latter. Thankfully, this episode mostly avoided the over-indulgence problem that hurt His Way, and while there are several musical numbers in this episode, they work better with the story. Vic's singing actually serves a purpose here, it's not in the show just because Ira Behr wanted to hear some of his favourite songs. I'm still not a fan of 60s lounge singers, but I'm more willing to give it a pass.

I have my problems with the idea of Nog living in a holosuite for several weeks, and the fact that Vic's program is left to run permanently from here on out, but it makes for a nice story, so whatever.
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Old January 25 2013, 05:11 PM   #1770
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Deep Space Nine

There are only a few episodes of DS9 that I haven't seen, mostly in seasons 1 and 2. I kind of treasure those episodes because it's like a treat, getting to see a new DS9 episode after all these years. That said, Paper Moon was one of those and I went ahead and watched it a few weeks ago. I really enjoyed it. I wasn't crazy about the Vic chcracter, but I like Nog (who doesn't?). I totally agree with your assessment, Nog is the character most 20th century humans can identify with the most. I like that they showed that losing a leg is a big deal, because it is. Likewise, I think it having him get hooked on the holosuite is a lot like the dependence on pain meds that people often develop after serious injuries, but without them having to go there, you know?

Logistically, promising Vic that his program will run all the time seems a little problematic, but it's the last season so whatever. (Doesn't Quark own the holosuites? Why would be be cool with losing profit on renting that one out?)
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