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Go Back   The Trek BBS > Star Trek TV Series > Deep Space Nine

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

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Old April 15 2012, 05:53 PM   #1201
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Deep Space Nine

I couldn't agree more. While it wasn't my least favorite episode it just didn't fit, and I find it unrealistic that O'Brien didn't have any reaction to the experience.
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Old April 15 2012, 08:15 PM   #1202
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Deep Space Nine

TheGodBen wrote: View Post
I've seen this episode nominated as the one episode that fans would remove from the canon and it's hard to deny their logic.
Indeed. It's an episode that, considered as a self-contained slice of Trek, deserves to be on the "best of" list, but it's almost totally undermined by the lack of follow-up. Not that I'd want the rest of the series to feature the O'Brien that we'd be left with - and that's the problem, I suppose. DS9 might be more arc-driven than other Trek series, but it's still not a show that can tolerate having one of its characters suffer such a psychological breakdown that his place in the series needs to be renegotiated drastically. Which means it needs to step back from anything majorly disruptive. It feels strange to say something like this, given my general support for strongly character-driven stories, but sadly this episode is just too gutsy and powerful in regards to where it takes O'Brien. In the wider context of the series it's a failure, which is sad because taken alone it's anything but.
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Old April 15 2012, 09:24 PM   #1203
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Deep Space Nine

TheGodBen wrote: View Post
My only other complaint about the episode is the depiction of the hallucinatory Ee'char. It's such a Hollywood way of depicting an emotional crisis, to have a character imagine another person to have conversations with. Sure, I have imagined conversations from time to time, but I've never actually imagined the person in front of me while doing it. Maybe people with PTSD see such visions, I don't know, but I felt it cheapened the episode a little.
I think this is done because it's an easy way to show what the person is thinking and feeling on a TV screen. Have them talk to a person that's "in their head" as a way of verbally working out what's going on inside of them. If we were reading a book about O'Brien's experience, Ee'char wouldn't be necessary.

And I do agree with you, the way this episode was never even mentioned again was very TNG. I would have expected DS9 to let Miles be a bit "off" for a few more episodes at least.
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Old April 15 2012, 09:25 PM   #1204
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Deep Space Nine

I think one of the more interesting things about the episode is that it is one big FU to TNG's utopian nonsense (one of many in DS9).

O'Brien shatters the edifice of TNGs "new more evolved humans." Its nonsense and the writers on DS9 knew it. They even go so far, at one point in the series to have Quark point out that Humans are a friendly and nice people as long as the power is on and their bellies are full. Take that away and we become as savage as any Klingon. TNG, because of a directive from Roddenberry, frequently denied such sentiment. DS9 called it out for the silliness that it really was.
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Old April 16 2012, 05:15 AM   #1205
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Deep Space Nine

I first saw Hard Time when I was younger. For some reason, I was more disturbed by that E'char guy's death scene than anything else about the episode. It just felt... so ****ed up.
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Old April 16 2012, 06:30 AM   #1206
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I really think "Hard Time" is great. As has been said, Colm Meaney puts on a fantastic performance. And I agree with MrBorg: Ee'Char's death scene is messed up. (According to MA, that scene was edited to remove the sound of bones cracking when it aired in the UK.)

I'm not sure this episode is really that incompatible with Roddenberry's "new evolved humans." First of all, Bashir argues quite eloquently that O'Brien's remorse is evidence itself of his being one of those "new evolved humans."

Furthermore, O'Brien himself may believe that he briefly turned into an animal because of his own lack of restraint, but for all we know, his killing of Ee'Char could very well have been "scripted" by his captors. In which case the episode isn't really about how O'Brien dealt with being in the cell, but about how O'Brien and his friends react to his memories thereof. And those reactions are definitely in line with Roddenberry's rules. No one belittles the chief for being "weak." No one says he should try to "tough it out." Everyone clearly has O'Brien's best interests at heart. Compare that to how America treats many of its veterans today.

Also, I'm not sure that this episode's apparent lack of explicit follow up is really that much of a drawback.

You can't drive a character to the brink of suicide in one episode and then act like none of it ever happened the next week. This is especially egregious because this is DS9, the one Star Trek show that's notable for its character development. Yet O'Brien forgets all about the 20 years of hell he endures here and is back playing dress-up in the holosuite in no time.
Not to argue semantics with you here, TheGodBen, but if you look at the next few episodes, this actually doesn't happen.

Spoilers ahead for those who care...


Now, certainly today, with our limited understandings of neuropsychology and the neurocognitive effects of trauma, 12 weeks would hardly be enough recovery time for someone in O'Brien's position. But 400 years from now? Maybe things'll be different.

And besides, there are lots of things in Star Trek that we know happen but that aren't discussed because they wouldn't make interesting/relevant stories. Or because there isn't time. Sisko's conversations with Starfleet Command in "In The Pale Moonlight," for example. Or Jake continuing in Mrs. O'Brien's class in the first two seasons. We never see it happen, but we know he's still going. Or Thomas Riker. We know he's still out there, and certainly there are stories to tell about him, just as there surely are about O'Brien's continued recovery. But the writers have an ensemble of characters, and looking at the episodes coming up after this, I'm really glad attention was paid to them, too.

Would a follow up to this episode have been good? Almost definitely. But the writers would have had to find a new angle to it. Perhaps an episode that chronicles O'Brien's post-Ee'Char counseling sessions, but the focus moves to the counselor, who develops some issue of his own, et cetera, et cetera...? Would've made clear that O'Brien was still recovering while allowing a new story to be told.

But what episode would we axe or overhaul to fit in this new storyline?


My point is that there is a glut of really solid episodes coming down the pipe, and even the weak ones are not necessarily ones that I would have wanted retooled as "Hard Time, Part 2."

(Now, if someone wanted to write a novel about this stuff... :-D)

My apologies for the long post. I am procrastinating.
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Old April 16 2012, 03:44 PM   #1207
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Deep Space Nine

I would certainly throw The Muse or Let He Who Is Without Sin out for Hard Time follow-up! They were terrible episodes.

I agree with what people have been saying here in that the episode as an isolated stand alone was excellent. The way that O'Brien's issues were just dropped unceremoniously when the camera stopped rolling was a bit of a failure. It was a very TNG thing to do, and is comparable to the muck up they made of the Odo/Kira tension after the Occupation Arc.
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Old April 16 2012, 04:32 PM   #1208
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Deep Space Nine

^And in that case at least they bothered saying they talked it out, though it was really cheap of them not to show it. There is not even that in the case of O'Brien.
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Old April 16 2012, 04:42 PM   #1209
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Deep Space Nine

I have to admit I can never decide whether I find it cheap or kind of hilarious when there's a large unresolved issue and they decide to have it taken care of off-screen. Perhaps both.

FWIW we eventually get the details in one of the novels.
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Old April 16 2012, 08:09 PM   #1210
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Deep Space Nine

Which novel was that?
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Old April 16 2012, 08:59 PM   #1211
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Deep Space Nine

I believe it was in the Worlds of DS9 novel that deals with the Dominion.
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Old April 18 2012, 03:07 AM   #1212
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Deep Space Nine

It's interesting how Hard Time is basically a dark mirror of The Inner Light. Picard lived an entire lifetime in a few moments, with a loving, fulfilling family, and it inspired him to keep hold of what matters in life. O'Brien lives out a long prison sentence full of darkness and despair. How does that change a man?
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Old April 18 2012, 05:32 PM   #1213
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Deep Space Nine

Shattered Mirror (**)

The mirror universe is disappointingly narrow in scope. There's an entire parallel universe filled with doppelgängers of almost everyone in existence and all you have to do to get there is rub some techno-magic device across a transporter panel... and yet all its used for is cartoonish stories about rebels fighting an empire. Okay, that's not all it's used for, this episode does attempt some emotional stuff about a son meeting his μmother, but that still takes a back seat to the action. Could you imagine the repercussions of discovering such a universe? How would you feel knowing that there's another you out there doing evil things in your name? How would the religious deal with knowing that God apparently has two plans? What about those in the μniverse that would seek refuge in the prime universe? We can only guess about these outcomes because the writers aren't interested in addressing them.

Shattered Mirror's main plot is weird. The rebels apparently have the ability to capture Terok Nor and build an advanced warship, but they still need Sisko so they sorta kidnap his son and lazily convince Sisko to help them. What about the Federation's policy of non-interference? Doesn't matter so much to Sisko, apparently. How are the characters in the prime universe reacting to Sisko being stuck in the μniverse for four days? Did they attempt to mount a rescue? We don't know because apparently that's not important. In fact, Sisko is having so much fun in the μniverse that he decides to stay and help the rebels even when he's allowed to go home. I could understand Sisko's personal reasons for wanting to save μJennifer in Through the Looking Glass, but here he just goes along with the rebels because he hasn't had a chance to blow anything up recently.

The episode isn't exactly bad, it moves along at a swift enough pace. The visual effects for this episode are great, it was a lot of fun to watch those ships dance around the station's rings and pylons. It's just a pity that the battle doesn't matter a damn in the prime universe, I would have preferred that they used the budget spent on this episode on something with the Dominion.
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Old April 18 2012, 06:35 PM   #1214
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Deep Space Nine

DonIago wrote: View Post
I believe it was in the Worlds of DS9 novel that deals with the Dominion.
No wonder. I hated that story, so I'm not surprised I flushed that detail out of my mind along with the rest.
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Old April 21 2012, 08:29 PM   #1215
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Deep Space Nine

InklingStar wrote: View Post
It's interesting how Hard Time is basically a dark mirror of The Inner Light. Picard lived an entire lifetime in a few moments, with a loving, fulfilling family, and it inspired him to keep hold of what matters in life. O'Brien lives out a long prison sentence full of darkness and despair. How does that change a man?
I do at least seem to recall Picard mentioning his experiences in the Inner Light again at least once after the fact. Of course, I think that was the same episode he started dating a crew member, so ...
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