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

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Old February 17 2013, 03:08 PM   #1846
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Deep Space Nine

The Changing Face of Evil (****½)

This episode is a strange yet satisfying mixture of ordinary life and shocking moments. The first shocking moment occurs during the first scene when we learn that the Breen have attacked Starfleet HQ, but that's small fry compared to what is to come. Interestingly, following the initial shock of this event, life quickly returns to normal on DS9, which is a completely different reaction to the one we saw following the bombing on Earth back in season 4. But that's to be expected, all of these characters have been living under threat for so long that they've grown used to it and prefer to play with toys to distract themselves.

This complacency is a perfect set-up for the second half of the episode. In order to make the Breen threat truly come home for our characters they have to suffer a loss, and that loss is the Defiant. Before this episode aired on TV, I had it spoiled by a friend that the Defiant was going to be destroyed, and while watching the episode I guessed from the extended prelude to the battle that this was the event I had heard about. Bizarrely, I semi-forgot about this event in the years that followed, and when I watched the episode on DVD many years later I was shocked by the event in a way I hadn't been when I originally saw it. It's a brutally swift sequence, the Defiant goes from kicking ass to being a wreck in about 90 seconds. It's genuinely quite sad too, especially Sisko looking forlornly back on his bridge one last time. It was a gutsy move to kill off the show's hero ship, even though it does get replaced by a near-identical ship with an ugly carpet.

In the midst of the despair over the destruction of the Defiant, we get one of the show's best "fuck yeah" moments. Damar chooses not to waste much time planning his rebellion and gives an impassioned speech encouraging Cardassian resistance, and includes the franchises biggest "fuck you" by revealing he destroyed the Dominion's cloning facilities just so that there can be no more Weyouns. Over the years, a lot has been said about how great Damar's arc so and I don't want to repeat all that, but I just want to say how satisfying it is to watch. It brings a smile to my face and makes me feel that all is right with the world, even when the universe itself is hurtling rocks at us.

The Winn/Dukat plot continues in this episode with some palace intrigue as Winn stabs an elderly religious man and uses his blood to unlock great evil. It's the weakest part of the episode, but it's still reasonably enjoyable for now. The only major problem I have with the episode is Dead Fish's decision to allow the survivors of the Allied fleet to scuttle back home, but since the alternatives were for the majority of the main cast to be killed off, or for them to be captured and detained until they all work out their romantic feelings for one another, it was probably for the best.

Stupid French Things: 6
Defiants Lost: 1
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Old February 17 2013, 04:43 PM   #1847
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Deep Space Nine

TheGodBen wrote: View Post
It's a brutally swift sequence, the Defiant goes from kicking ass to being a wreck in about 90 seconds. It's genuinely quite sad too, especially Sisko looking forlornly back on his bridge one last time. It was a gutsy move to kill off the show's hero ship, even though it does get replaced by a near-identical ship with an ugly carpet.

I think the destruction and replacement of the Defiant is an interesting moment.

In Trek there's a history of the ship almost being a character, and I think that's certainly still true on DS9 to an extent, thought the show is built more around the station and the wormhole than the ship.

The Defiant does really fit the show's identity, in a way, though: the tough little ship, stripped down to the essentials, not really built for exploration, but for defense, and for war.

It's also very much established as a force to be reckoned with at this point, so its destruction does hit pretty hard.

On the other hand, I find its immediate replacement to be appropriate: there's only so much time that can be spent caring about a warship in a conflict like this.

Some have said that replacing it undercuts what previously happened, but I don't think it really does. The attachment the characters might have to the old Defiant is based on the experiences they shared on it, not its "uniqueness" as a machine. Also, it's just a ship. Let's not get carried away.
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Old February 17 2013, 07:02 PM   #1848
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Deep Space Nine

The Defiant is blowed up real good, and it was a really emotional moment. The way it was almost swept under the rug by an exact replica was a bit strange though.
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Old February 18 2013, 06:19 PM   #1849
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Deep Space Nine

flemm wrote: View Post
On the other hand, I find its immediate replacement to be appropriate: there's only so much time that can be spent caring about a warship in a conflict like this.

Some have said that replacing it undercuts what previously happened, but I don't think it really does. The attachment the characters might have to the old Defiant is based on the experiences they shared on it, not its "uniqueness" as a machine. Also, it's just a ship. Let's not get carried away.
Replacing the Defiant makes sense, but they replaced the Defiant with another Defiant class ship which they then renamed Defiant and gave the ship the Defiant's exact registry number. I understand why they did all that for budgetary reasons, and at least they changed some of the colours on the bridge, but it was a little underwhelming. It would be like replacing Jadzia with Jadzia's identical twin sister who is also called Jadzia.

When it Rains... (***½)

...it drizzles. Nothing in this episode can match the theatrics of the previous one, it's just contains the logical continuation of the story, as well as some plot elements being set up for the final batch of episodes.

Damar is now the leader of the Cardassian Liberation Front, but he's not doing very well and his underling, Russot, is contemplating establishing the Liberation Front of Cardassia. To help Damar out, Sisko decides to send the two people that hate Damar most to help, Kira and Garak. But there's no time to discuss the death of Ziyal, all of these people are professionals and are dedicated to bringing down the Dominion, personal feelings be damned. It's a neat development for Kira to find herself helping the Cardassians free their homeworld with terrorist tactics she learned fighting Cardassians, but not much has come of that yet other than a few arguments.

Meanwhile, Bashir faces the greatest evil in the galaxy: bureaucracy. After discovering that Odo is infected with space aids, Bashir decides to use his superhuman brain to discover a cure, but finds himself arguing with some low-level officers for several days. He eventually supposes that Section 31 are behind the obstructionism and that they're the ones responsible for the disease, which is a bit of a leap in logic, but he ends up being correct so I guess I have to suck it for questioning him.

Everyone's favourite pair of eyeballs returns, as Gowron shows up to take over from Martok. It turns out that the Klingons are the only ones whose ships can be adapted to fight the Breen, and rather than be a good Salarian and hold the line, Gowron has decided to launch an attack on the Dominion while outnumbered 20 to 1. To most people, this would appear to be complete idiocy, but we're talking about Klingons here so it kinda makes sense.

On Bajor, Dukat gets hit in the eyes with some magic smoke and goes blind, and Winn chooses to punish him by kicking him onto the street. This is a stalling tactic, plain and simple. The show doesn't need Dukat and Winn for the next few episodes so they concocted some reason to get rid of them, and it's about as entertaining as that reads.

Form of... a little drab: 36
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Old February 18 2013, 07:06 PM   #1850
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Deep Space Nine

TheGodBen wrote: View Post
It would be like replacing Jadzia with Jadzia's identical twin sister who is also called Jadzia.
That sums it up nicely, yes.
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Old February 18 2013, 07:09 PM   #1851
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TheGodBen wrote: View Post
[...rather than be a good Salarian and hold the line
"Glory in battle is not our way" is probably at the very top of The List of Things A Klingon Would Never Say, mind you.
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Old February 18 2013, 07:19 PM   #1852
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Deep Space Nine

TheGodBen wrote: View Post
flemm wrote: View Post
On the other hand, I find its immediate replacement to be appropriate: there's only so much time that can be spent caring about a warship in a conflict like this.

Some have said that replacing it undercuts what previously happened, but I don't think it really does. The attachment the characters might have to the old Defiant is based on the experiences they shared on it, not its "uniqueness" as a machine. Also, it's just a ship. Let's not get carried away.
Replacing the Defiant makes sense, but they replaced the Defiant with another Defiant class ship which they then renamed Defiant and gave the ship the Defiant's exact registry number. I understand why they did all that for budgetary reasons, and at least they changed some of the colours on the bridge, but it was a little underwhelming. It would be like replacing Jadzia with Jadzia's identical twin sister who is also called Jadzia.
I don't have a problem with it. The new Defiant was meant to be the Defiant A and if by some miracle the new Defiant is ever seen again on film, it will almost certainly be identified as the Defiant A. Perhaps this will happen if DS9 is remastered.
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Old February 18 2013, 08:01 PM   #1853
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Deep Space Nine

TheGodBen wrote: View Post
Replacing the Defiant makes sense, but they replaced the Defiant with another Defiant class ship which they then renamed Defiant and gave the ship the Defiant's exact registry number. I understand why they did all that for budgetary reasons, and at least they changed some of the colours on the bridge, but it was a little underwhelming. It would be like replacing Jadzia with Jadzia's identical twin sister who is also called Jadzia.
Well, I guess that goes back to the question of whether or not the ship should be treated as essentially a character.

I do get the argument that some more emphasis on the new ship being different might have worked better, though.
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Old February 18 2013, 11:20 PM   #1854
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Deep Space Nine

Definitely. I know that the producers were struggling with the budget by the end, hence why we ended up with stock CGI footage in the final battle. I suppose they couldn't justify spending money on making the new Defiant actually look new, which is a shame. It totally lessens the impact the end of The Changing Face of Evil had.

It's even almost comparable to VOY's shuttle situation.

Nah, I'm just being dramatic.

When It Rains... is Penumbra-style setup again, but more interesting, and with no Ezri/Worf subplot, and thus instantly better. I loved seeing Kira helping the Cardassians organise their resistance, which brings her character full circle. The lack of discussion about Ziyal was a bit of a shame though. I would think that someone would bring it up, just to get it mentioned for the sake of mentioning it.

Gowron on DS9 is a bit of an idiot compared to how he was on TNG. But I suppose in Way of the Warrior, and now these couple of episodes, he's merely serving a purpose. And Robert O'Reilly is always so game and just lives in the role, so it's easy to get drawn into all of the drama.
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Old February 19 2013, 05:36 PM   #1855
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Deep Space Nine

Deranged Nasat wrote: View Post
"Glory in battle is not our way" is probably at the very top of The List of Things A Klingon Would Never Say, mind you.
True, I suppose the Salarians are more like those Romulan petaQ.

Ketrick wrote: View Post
I don't have a problem with it. The new Defiant was meant to be the Defiant A and if by some miracle the new Defiant is ever seen again on film, it will almost certainly be identified as the Defiant A. Perhaps this will happen if DS9 is remastered.
I think that would be an acceptable change if they ever do a DS9 remastered, as it was the original intention of the producers, but I fear that Paramount would baulk at the cost of redoing the DS9 battle scenes in HD and would just upscale them.


Tacking into the Wind (*****)

This is another episode where I debated with myself whether or not to give it 5 stars, and I decided to for one big reason. This episode is more than a culmination of recent events, and it's more than a culmination of events from throughout DS9. This episode is the end of a journey Worf started back in TNG, specifically the arc that began in Sins of the Father. In that episode, co-written by Ron Moore, Worf in the outsider that sacrifices his honour to save a corrupt empire, whereas in this episode, also written by Moore, Worf is the outsider that challenges that corruption to restore honour to the empire. To do so, Worf must kill the man that he made Chancellor, and whose army he once fought in. This is a decade of stories spread across two series that ends with Worf briefly at the pinnacle of the Klingon Empire. It's good stuff.

Also of note are Ezri's wonderful speech about the death of the Klingon Empire, a speech that only Dax could make, and Sisko's order for Worf to do "whatever it takes" to stop Gowron. Picard, he is not.

It has not been in development quite as long as Worf's tale, but this episode also sees the conclusion of Damar's transformation from villain to hero. He may have been working against the Dominion for the last few episodes, but this is the episode where Damar decides that he doesn't just want the old Cardassia back, he wants to make a better Cardassia. Without outright saying it, he acknowledges Cardassia's cruelty and arrogance, particularly towards Bajor, and decides that it must end. There's a wonderful scene where Kira jabs him right after learning that his family has been killed that is almost painful to watch. This not only works to prod Damar onto the path of redemption, it's also a reminder that Kira, for all the maturity and restraint she has gained, still has that angry Bajoran inside her.

While this is happening, Odo is deteriorating rapidly, and there are some great moments for him, Kira and Garak that feed off of that. I really love the final moments of this episode where Kira tries to comfort him as Odo seems to accept his impending death.

Interestingly, while the Final Chapter thus far has maintained multiple story arcs throughout each episode, Tacking into the Wind really only has an A and B plot, with a tiny C plot on the side. Bashir and O'Brien have two scenes where they discuss how they're going to get the cure from Section 31, which sets up the next episode's exciting showdown!

Form of... handcuffs: 37
Form of... Dead Fish: 38
Stupid French Things: 7
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Old February 19 2013, 08:50 PM   #1856
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Deep Space Nine

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Tacking into the Wind (*****)
My favorite episode of DS9, I think. So many great moments.

While the culmination of the Klingon storyline is certainly great, as is Damar's continued evolution, what stands out to me most is what an amazing character Kira is at this point. This episode is a really great showcase for her, even though it's not mostly about her.

It's also a bit unusual in that Garak works really well here as a supporting player, rather than scene-stealer. His interaction with Odo at the beginning is a really strong moment that harkens back to The Die is Cast. The torture scene is the first time we see Odo in that type of condition, I believe.

Sisko's "Do whatever it takes, Mr. Worf." is also classic. It takes a while for Worf to really come around to the idea, but what Sisko means is immediately obvious to us: "Kill him if you have to."
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Old February 19 2013, 09:27 PM   #1857
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Deep Space Nine

Hail Worf, Leader of Empire. Well his reign must be one of the shortest in Klingon History.
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Old February 20 2013, 12:26 AM   #1858
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Deep Space Nine

An easily excellent episode. So many threads coming together makes me so very happy. Ezri's best moment of the season comes when she puts the Klingon empire in its place, which is enough to fire up Worf to do the right thing. And how far Star Trek had come to be at the point where the right thing is for Worf to kill Gowron. Amazing moment.

I already mentioned Kira's development in my last post, but she continues to be awesome here. Her putting Damar in his place is a very powerful beat for both characters.

All of this talk of the final chapter has finally inspired me to start my own rewatch. I haven't watched DS9 all the way through for a few years now, so it's good to catch up again. Just finished season one tonight.
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Old February 20 2013, 01:02 AM   #1859
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Deep Space Nine

Tacking Into the Wind is one of my favourite episodes. I love the way in which the Klingon and Cardassian stories mirror each other while also standing in such fascinating contrast to one another. The Klingon plot is about Worf finally taking steps to restore honour and glory to the empire, and hopefully setting the Klingons onto a better path; one in which they finally walk the walk as well as talk the talk, so to speak. The Cardassian story then has something that is at once very similar to this but is also a bit of an inversion of it - Russot mirrors the comments we hear from Klingons about "restoring the glory of the empire", but Damar rejects that vision and makes progress by accepting that the old Cardassia wasn't glorious at all. It's wonderful writing when we hear the same goal proposed twice, but we get two different answers to it, answers that despite being almost exact opposites both manage to be uplifting and satisfying, and both offering hope for a troubled society. Well played, writers, especially as it seemed so natural and uncontrived.

One thing I will say: I think that, in a sense, the Cardassians have fallen further than the Klingons, but thanks to this they've also progressed further, and made (or are now equipped to make ) the bigger step forward. The Klingons were falling apart - as Dax said so well, they were dying and she could no longer even sympathise - but Worf took the step to "restore" them, hopefully to something more in keeping with his idealistic view of what the Klingon culture is "supposed" to be. In other words, the "true" Klingon Empire has a chance to come back. Worf managed - just - to start the process of reversing that long decline, driving out that rot. Cardassia by contrast can't come back. It wasn't just dying, it's actually dead. But in realizing that, and realizing that maybe the old Cardassia shouldn't come back and that he has an opportunity to make a better Cardassia rise from the ashes, Damar gives us a satisfying conclusion that's very different from Worf's while also thematically similar.

To use Babylon Five to illustrate:

Worf is Emperor Turhan of the Centauri, trying to turn things around before the end:

"So much has been lost, so much forgotten. So much pain, so much blood. And for what, I wonder. The past tempts us, the present confuses us, and the future frightens us. And our lives slip away, moment by moment, lost in that vast, terrible inbetween. But there is still time to seize that one last fragile moment. To choose something better, to make a difference, as you say. And I intend to do just that".

Damar is G'Kar of Narn, having already reached the end and gone past the point that it can be reversed, but seeing now opportunity for rebirth:

"You have the opportunity, here and now, to choose. To become something greater, and nobler, and more difficult than you have been before. The universe does not offer such chances often, G'kar..."

Having the Cardassian arc (which has been running since Season Two, when we were first given insight into the politics and gradual decline of Cardassia) and the Klingon arc (which, as TGB notes, has been running since TNG season three) hit their payoff at the same time is one of the smartest moves the writers ever made, in my opinion.
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Old February 20 2013, 04:06 AM   #1860
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Deep Space Nine

Deranged Nasat wrote: View Post
Having the Cardassian arc (which has been running since Season Two, when we were first given insight into the politics and gradual decline of Cardassia) and the Klingon arc (which, as TGB notes, has been running since TNG season three) hit their payoff at the same time is one of the smartest moves the writers ever made, in my opinion.
Definitely. Even the Section 31 material fits in nicely when you consider that, in each of the three story layers, there is a kind of insurrection, or rebellion against authority, with different implications in each case. Worf's rebellion succeeds, Rusot's is defeated, and O'Brien and Bashir hatch their plot to outwit Section 31.

The episode really has a lot of layers to it, particularly with Odo's condition deteriorating even as Bashir and O'Brien struggle with how to find the cure.

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