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

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Old June 23 2013, 04:12 PM   #16
Dale Sams
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Re: Sacrifice of Angels , Ex Deus Machina?

Memory Alpha quotes Ira Steven Behr from the DS9 Companion:

"I felt it was the perfect next step in the evolution of the relationship between Sisko and the Prophets that began in the pilot. Hearing people refer to it as some dopey deus ex machina is really annoying because I would think they'd give us more credit for being on the ball. ...This was the man going out into the wilderness and demanding God to interfere, to do something for crying out loud
errrr....Not really Ira. Actually it was Sisko seizing an opportunity. Apparently it didn't even occur to him to ask 'God' for help until the moment arrived. That's almost the opposite of going out into the wilderness.

As for, was it a 'bad' ending? No, not at all. Don't f*** with the Feds. They know *real* Gods.
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Old June 23 2013, 04:21 PM   #17
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Re: Sacrifice of Angels , Ex Deus Machina?

WesleysDisciple wrote: View Post
curious any thoughts on if Sacrifice of Angels is an Ex deus machina or not

some argue it is, and obviously so, taht it should have been the brave and valiant actions of our hero's that saved the day, not the sudden intervention of the "Prophet's/Wormhole aliens"

others argue that it was neither arbitrary nor implausible, and I share that belief.

so thoughts.
Yes, absolutely. The Dominion fleet disappearing in the wormhole was de facto a deus ex machina.

This was also my personal shark jumping point in DS9. ("The plot is resolved with one too many plot twists which are inconsistent with the overall narrative, poorly executed, or are just plain stupid, turning the audience away.")
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Old June 23 2013, 04:39 PM   #18
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Re: Sacrifice of Angels , Ex Deus Machina?

Well if use the wikipedia definition

(From the first paragraph)

is a plot device whereby a seemingly unsolvable problem is suddenly and abruptly resolved, with the contrived and unexpected intervention of some new event, character, ability, or object.

Wormhole aliens, already established
Wormhole aliens haveing control of the wormhole, alread establsihed

I.e not new so it fails at least some of the criteria of a Dues Ex Machina.
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Old June 23 2013, 04:57 PM   #19
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Re: Sacrifice of Angels , Ex Deus Machina?

Well, that's why I used the qualifier of de facto.
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Old June 23 2013, 07:45 PM   #20
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Re: Sacrifice of Angels , Ex Deus Machina?

CorporalCaptain wrote: View Post
Yes, absolutely. The Dominion fleet disappearing in the wormhole was de facto a deus ex machina.

This was also my personal shark jumping point in DS9. ("The plot is resolved with one too many plot twists which are inconsistent with the overall narrative, poorly executed, or are just plain stupid, turning the audience away.")
The problem with this assertion isn't arguing over a Deus Ex Machina, it's the fact that any other ending to the scenario would have made no sense either with Star Trek's themes or the ones established by Deep Space Nine. For the Dominion War arc to make sense, the Prophets had to play a role (because they're a major part of the show), and it couldn't end in a big space battle.

"Errand of Mercy" is pretty much the Sacrifice of Angels writ large. It's also the basis for Star Trek and war. Star Trek repeatedly highlights that actual military conflict is both useless as well as counterproductive to civilized societies.

Errand of Mercy ends with the Organians enforcing a peace treaty. "Arena" is also about seemingly higher beings enforcing a similar peace. Star Trek is riddled with the idea that "greater entities" view war and conflict as disgusting and we need to move past it.

Virtually all of Star Trek's great moments do NOT end in a space battle. Instead, it's about making peace with your enemy of finding a way around a problem other than shooting it to pieces.

Our heroes winning because of military strategy is about the absolute least Star Trek thing imaginable. If they'd just blown up the fleet with a technobabble bomb that's Anti-Trek in its themes. Asking the Prophets to do it isn't very Trek either, but it's at least NOT a big space battle.

Deep Space Nine's themes (apart from Trek as a whole) are about religion and it's importance. Anti-Roddenberry as they may be, they're a HUGE frigging part of DS9. The Prophets are more important than the Dominion and fans who want to ignore them are sort of missing the point. Like the BSG fans who kept tuning out Baltar talking to God. Yeah, you may not like that part of the show but it's there, it's been there from the beginning, and it can't be ignored.
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Old June 23 2013, 09:33 PM   #21
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Re: Sacrifice of Angels , Ex Deus Machina?

Charles Phipps wrote: View Post
CorporalCaptain wrote: View Post
Yes, absolutely. The Dominion fleet disappearing in the wormhole was de facto a deus ex machina.

This was also my personal shark jumping point in DS9. ("The plot is resolved with one too many plot twists which are inconsistent with the overall narrative, poorly executed, or are just plain stupid, turning the audience away.")
The problem with this assertion isn't arguing over a Deus Ex Machina, it's the fact that any other ending to the scenario would have made no sense either with Star Trek's themes or the ones established by Deep Space Nine. For the Dominion War arc to make sense, the Prophets had to play a role (because they're a major part of the show), and it couldn't end in a big space battle.

"Errand of Mercy" is pretty much the Sacrifice of Angels writ large. It's also the basis for Star Trek and war. Star Trek repeatedly highlights that actual military conflict is both useless as well as counterproductive to civilized societies.

Errand of Mercy ends with the Organians enforcing a peace treaty. "Arena" is also about seemingly higher beings enforcing a similar peace. Star Trek is riddled with the idea that "greater entities" view war and conflict as disgusting and we need to move past it.

Virtually all of Star Trek's great moments do NOT end in a space battle. Instead, it's about making peace with your enemy of finding a way around a problem other than shooting it to pieces.

Our heroes winning because of military strategy is about the absolute least Star Trek thing imaginable. If they'd just blown up the fleet with a technobabble bomb that's Anti-Trek in its themes. Asking the Prophets to do it isn't very Trek either, but it's at least NOT a big space battle.

Deep Space Nine's themes (apart from Trek as a whole) are about religion and it's importance. Anti-Roddenberry as they may be, they're a HUGE frigging part of DS9. The Prophets are more important than the Dominion and fans who want to ignore them are sort of missing the point. Like the BSG fans who kept tuning out Baltar talking to God. Yeah, you may not like that part of the show but it's there, it's been there from the beginning, and it can't be ignored.
First of all, it's important to point out that deus ex machina is not necessarily a bad thing. The germs defeating the Martians in The War of the Worlds is an example where it works, and the usage there is really part of the point of the story.

In discussing Errand of Mercy, it should probably be made clear that it, too, is arguably only a de facto example of deus ex machina, since there were clues dropped all along that things were not as they seemed with the Organians. These included their immediate knowledge that Klingons were in orbit and beaming down, the unlikely stagnant culture, and their bizarre lack of concern.

Also, although it doesn't look like you claimed it was, just to be clear, Arena doesn't really qualify as an example of deus ex machina on any level. The revelation of the Metrons is still part of the extended set-up for the main drama, in the eponymous arena. Without the contest on the asteroid, the episode has no real story at all. Also, anyone familiar with the story by Frederic Brown indicated in the credits would be aware of the similar device in it.

However, the outcome of Arena was not the Metrons imposing peace. All they did was stop the two ships fighting in their space, and pit their captains against each other in the arena. They would have destroyed the ship of the loser, if the victor had wished it. Overall peace between the Gorn and the Federation was left to be worked out on its own terms.

I agree there are similarities between Errand of Mercy and Sacrifice of Angels. But there are important differences. For one thing, Errand of Mercy is a one-off. Despite a namedrop or two, the Organians basically never figured into the story of any episode ever again.

On the other hand, Sacrifice of Angels stood at the climax of drama that had been building for seasons. There was a great deal of investment in all of the nuances leading up to all out war between the Federation and the Dominion. DS9 had set itself out to be Star Trek's edgier cousin, and spent a lot of time trying to make the case that that's what it was. Also, because DS9 set itself up as being about story arcs, Sacrifice of Angels can't be separated from all the seasons of buildup and anticipation that had preceded it.

Then, as the great battle is about to begin, the show has this epiphany. After all those seasons, it's suddenly time to finally get back to its roots. Assuming we can cope with the whiplash of that, what do we get afterwards, in the remaining time the show runs? Total silliness, such as that involving the Pah-wraiths.

The problem wasn't that the theme turned out to be that war isn't such a good idea after all. That is consistent with the ideals generally associated with Star Trek.

By way of clarification, the problem was twofold. First, what little dramatic payoff we got was all out of proportion to the buildup. That's it being "poorly executed". Second, and moreover, it was all downhill from there, and yet the show meandered on for almost two more seasons. This, what I called jumping the shark, was the actual nature of my criticism.
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Old June 23 2013, 09:54 PM   #22
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Re: Sacrifice of Angels , Ex Deus Machina?

Worf'sParmach wrote: View Post
DalekJim wrote: View Post
Sisko being the Emissary simply because he was the first one to encounter the Prophets and they viewed time as non-linear was perfect. Making him Space Jesus dumbed everything down. Making Dukat the Space Anti-Christ dumbed things even further down.
Agreed. I was okay with the whole Emissary thing right up until he was "born of a Virgin Sarah."
The impression I got was that Sisko would have been born without the prophets interference anyway, but that they were so worried about it that they made absolutely sure it would happen by possessing Sarah.
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Old June 23 2013, 11:56 PM   #23
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Re: Sacrifice of Angels , Ex Deus Machina?

Points noted.

You raise some very good points about Arena and are correct about EoM.

On the other hand, Sacrifice of Angels stood at the climax of drama that had been building for seasons. There was a great deal of investment in all of the nuances leading up to all out war between the Federation and the Dominion. DS9 had set itself out to be Star Trek's edgier cousin, and spent a lot of time trying to make the case that that's what it was. Also, because DS9 set itself up as being about story arcs, Sacrifice of Angels can't be separated from all the seasons of buildup and anticipation that had preceded it.

Then, as the great battle is about to begin, the show has this epiphany. After all those seasons, it's suddenly time to finally get back to its roots. Assuming we can cope with the whiplash of that, what do we get afterwards, in the remaining time the show runs? Total silliness, such as that involving the Pah-wraiths.

The problem wasn't that the theme turned out to be that war isn't such a good idea after all. That is consistent with the ideals generally associated with Star Trek.

By way of clarification, the problem was twofold. First, what little dramatic payoff we got was all out of proportion to the buildup. That's it being "poorly executed". Second, and moreover, it was all downhill from there, and yet the show meandered on for almost two more seasons. This, what I called jumping the shark, was the actual nature of my criticism.
While you raise a valid point, the fact is the Prophets have been part of DS9 since the beginning and never really left. It's not like the Temporal Cold War or the Kazons, where they dropped off the face of the Earth after a certain time period. The Wormhole that introduced the Dominion is the home, as well as direct conduit, to the Prophets. Indeed, the whole "we need to destroy the wormhole" plot which kept cropping up seemed horrific to me as this is the home of a peaceful race of aliens.

For me, the Dominion War was going to be a big epic darker and edgier story but it was never going to drop the Prophets arc. Those who wanted to keep the mysticism of the Prophets from their hard science war I felt were bound to be disappointed because that was as much a part of Deep Space Nine as anything else.

Since they needed to have the Dominion come through the wormhole, I pretty much wondered why it wasn't obvious from the beginning. "Can you [The Prophets] prevent this bunch of guys from coming through?" It seems an obvious question.

Oddly, my biggest problem with SOA wasn't that the Prophets COULD do this, it was the way they DID.

My problem with SOA wasn't that Sisko appealed to the Prophets, which is just fine, and then the Prophets straight up murdered (say, 1000 Jem'hadar on every ship), 3 million guys. That's a little disconcerting for Star Trek.

(And reversed by the video game)

I mean, it'd be more Star Trek if they'd just CLOSED the wormhole.
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Old June 24 2013, 12:03 AM   #24
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Re: Sacrifice of Angels , Ex Deus Machina?

Personally I loved the concept of the good guys failing. It just showed yet again DS9 was willing to think outside of the box. Strictly speaking, as has been pointed out, the Prophets interfering is not an Ex Deus Machina simply because they -are- an existing story element. An Ex Deus Machina would've been if there never were any aliens in the wormhole for the whole series, then suddenly we have the Bajoran Gods appear out of no where and win the day.

My main disappointment with the episode was virtually the lack of followup. The Prophets bailed him out, but menacingly declared there would be a price to pay. I guess you could vaguely interpret that to be his little spirit quests in season 7, but it really doesn't pan out and really fizzles away slowly.
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Old June 24 2013, 12:21 AM   #25
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Re: Sacrifice of Angels , Ex Deus Machina?

I took the price to be Sisko will never come back to his family but everyone seems to think he'll be back ASAP at the end so what do I know
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Old June 24 2013, 12:31 AM   #26
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Re: Sacrifice of Angels , Ex Deus Machina?

Charles Phipps wrote: View Post
While you raise a valid point, the fact is the Prophets have been part of DS9 since the beginning and never really left. It's not like the Temporal Cold War or the Kazons, where they dropped off the face of the Earth after a certain time period. The Wormhole that introduced the Dominion is the home, as well as direct conduit, to the Prophets. Indeed, the whole "we need to destroy the wormhole" plot which kept cropping up seemed horrific to me as this is the home of a peaceful race of aliens.

For me, the Dominion War was going to be a big epic darker and edgier story but it was never going to drop the Prophets arc. Those who wanted to keep the mysticism of the Prophets from their hard science war I felt were bound to be disappointed because that was as much a part of Deep Space Nine as anything else.
Right, I agree.

One of my favorite moments of intervention by the Prophets was at the end of Accession, when they read a finished version of The Call of the Prophets, while at the same time realizing that the timeline had been changed. I thought Accession was a pretty good episode (the subplot of Miles not being able to keep his quarters clean notwithstanding).

I just thought the Pah-wraiths took it too far.

Knowing little about DS9 production history, I found this interesting. From http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/Acce...ory_and_script:

The producers had to fight to get this episode ["Accession"] made because the studio had told them not to do any shows about Bajoran religion. Episodes such as "In the Hands of the Prophets" from the first season and "The Collaborator" from the second had proved to be somewhat unpopular with viewers, and Paramount felt that shows dealing with religion in general, and Bajoran religion in particular, were not ratings winners. According to Hans Beimler, "Shows about religion, alien religion and the Prophets, are extraordinarily difficult. Not because they're hard to produce, but because they're not proven ratings winners. As a result, the studio tends to be happier when DS9 is doing action stories." Similarly, René Echevarria explains, "The studio doesn't like Bajor stories. And Bajor's religion is one aspect of Bajor to which they really don't respond." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
This looks like it explains the deemphasis of the Prophets, and accordingly could explain some of the perception of there being a deus ex machina in Sacrifice of Angels.

I mean, it'd be more Star Trek if they'd just CLOSED the wormhole.
That's a very good point, too. And doing it that way would have been more like Errand of Mercy, in particular, for that matter.
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Old June 24 2013, 12:36 AM   #27
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Re: Sacrifice of Angels , Ex Deus Machina?

My issue with SOA is in retrospect of the event after the series finishes. At the time (season 6) I was ok with it. But after the season 7 vision quest, the orb of the emissary, Sisko's reveal of being conceived by will of the prophets and as Ira Steven Behr stated makes Sisko "part prophet. Is where it hurts the act in SOA. It dumbs Sisko's poetic and powerful appeal to gods for their intervention, down to Sisko unknowingly asking his extended supernatural family for a favor. Which the prophets grant.
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Old June 24 2013, 12:42 AM   #28
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Re: Sacrifice of Angels , Ex Deus Machina?

It also is just weird because it's obvious during their "first" meeting, they have no idea what the hell Sisko is or is talking about yet can somehow manipulate his very linear birth?

As for the Pah Wraiths, my main problem is they sort of come out of nowhere and are just there to be supernaturally bad.

There's not even a reason for them to be bad. Why are they? What do they believe?

The Prophets saying, "These are the dudes who **** with Linear Beings. Don't trust em." would have been nice.
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Old June 24 2013, 11:39 AM   #29
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Re: Sacrifice of Angels , Ex Deus Machina?

Charles Phipps wrote: View Post

I mean, it'd be more Star Trek if they'd just CLOSED the wormhole.
The problem with that is they couldn't, the Dominion had sabotaged the Federation's attempt to collapse the entrance to the wormhole, so that they could no longer close the entrance.
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Old June 24 2013, 12:02 PM   #30
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Re: Sacrifice of Angels , Ex Deus Machina?

MacLeod wrote: View Post
The problem with that is they couldn't, the Dominion had sabotaged the Federation's attempt to collapse the entrance to the wormhole, so that they could no longer close the entrance.
I meant the Prophets.
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