DS9 Versus: A viewing experient

Discussion in 'Deep Space Nine' started by Sykonee, Apr 9, 2009.

  1. TheGodBen

    TheGodBen Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Her death was underwhelming compared to what they were planning. In the book Star Trek: Action they detailed how the story for TOTP was fleshed out and the original plan was for Dukat to lead a raid on the station with the Jem'Hadar, disable it, steal an orb and fly off into the wormhole where Jadzia would follow him and get herself killed trying to stop him collapsing it. By the time that Sisko/Worf and the rest arrived back to the station it would be heavily damaged and the promenade would be in flames. But they didn't have the budget to pull it off, and they thought that having two battles happening at the same time might negate the emotional impact of the death, so instead they went with what's in the final episode.

    Anyways, none of those episodes stands out as brilliant to me, but I'd probably go for DS9. B5 was okay but it wasn't thrilling, Voyager was too over-the-top for my taste, while DS9 wasn't a classic but at its heart was an interesting story.
     
  2. DevilEyes

    DevilEyes Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I'd be interested to read what that is.
     
  3. flemm

    flemm Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I think I went into this at some length in another thread in the not too distant past (hence I didn't want to repeat myself), but to summarize:

    Wormhole aliens = the show's creators
    Pagh Wraith = the show's creative demons

    Arguably the Prophets can be understood this way starting in Emissary, but it really starts to snowball with the Emissary trilogy. After all, who can percieve the unfolding events of the show from outside linear time? The writers, of course.

    As the Emissary, Sisko has a privileged link to them, but he needs help to accede to his task, so a Bajoran is plucked from the past and brought to the present by the Prophets/Writers to put Sisko on the right path (Accension). Sisko's visions in Rapture allow him to see the show unfolding from the writers' perspective: he can see the big picture in ways that other characters can't, not coincidentally in the middle of season 5, the moment where the writers themselves are starting to see the big picture. Everything is starting to come together creatively for them.

    Obviously Far Beyond the Stars further develops the link between Sisko and the writers. Sisko is in fact part-writer, or part-Prophet if you prefer (same thing).

    The end of season 6 and the beginning of season 7 is particularly fertile terrain for this type of interpretation. After all, the show was originally intended to run only six seasons, but plans were changed and no one knows what that means for the future (The Reckoning). The final confrontation between the writers and their creative demons will have to be put off for another year.

    By joining with the Pagh Wraith, Dukat seeks to cut Sisko off from the Prophets/writers, thus "killing the show," and he very nearly succeeds. Like Sisko at the end of Tears of the Prophets, the show's creators are confused, unsure of how to proceed, unable to tie together all of the plot threads, just as Sisko cannot reconcile his roles as Captain and Emissary. They need some time to think it over (like Sisko).

    At the beginning of season 7, the kinship between Sisko and the Prophets/writers is fully revealed (they arranged his birth, which in effect goes without saying, since they are the writers), and together they find the will to "finish the story" despite the interference of the Pagh Wraith/creative demons, thus re-opening the Wormhole.

    Naturally the Emissary's final task is to "close the book," thereby trapping the show's demons forever by closing "a door that can never be opened again" (ending the show). This part is admittedly the most poorly executed, though a final shot of Benny Russell would have helped (as I believe was contemplated, though eventually rejected as potentially too confusing).

    Anyway, long story short, it makes sense for Dukat/Pagh Wraith to kill Jadzia, since her death is not motivated by events within the story, but by "the war within the Celestial Temple," i.e. outside factors, in this case Farrell deciding to leave the show (note that she dies in the Bajoran temple on DS9 after deciding to speak/pray to the Prophets, something she doesn't habitually do).
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2010
  4. Sykonee

    Sykonee Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I'm not sure if it'd become a cliche at this point. Wasn't this only the second time we'd seen Space Nazis in Trek?

    Week 25: (Ending 03.15.98)
    B5 - Day Of The Dead

    Ah, so it's the Brakiri's culture that gets fleshed out this week, not the armadillo men (what are they called again?). I'm for that, since they seem to be an interesting species. Love their starship design!

    But wait, what about that whole telepath arc? It was finally getting interesting, and it's not even touched upon here. Instead, we get to see a bunch of former guest stars make cameos, a blatant excuse to bring back Mr. Morden one last time, and a bit of a clumsily-handled attempt to give Lochley more backstory (though the acting part of it was fine). Oh yeah, and Penn & Teller guest star as the one-time joke Rebo & Zooty, dragging the gag out more than it ever needed to be. I guess comedy of the future will still be written by Saturday Night Live.

    I like the mystery aspect of this episode, but it doesn't really amount to much in the end. Man, you sure can tell when JMS doesn't write the script, huh?

    Weekly Winner
    B5

    Next:
    B5 - In The Kingdom Of The Blind
     
  5. TheGodBen

    TheGodBen Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Oh yes, certainly, you'd have to be a fool not to notice. :alienblush:
     
  6. Pemmer Harge

    Pemmer Harge Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Maybe it's because I didn't think the telepath plot got interesting till the next episode, but I really like Day of the Dead. I think Gaiman did a really good job of coming up with a sort of dark comedy and I appreciated the scenes with the former guest stars and the backstory for Lochley (second time lucky with that, I guess). "Zoe's dead" - brrrrr! spooky! In my opinion, this may well be the best of the episodes JMS didn't write, though Legacies, A Spider in the Web and Soul Mates might give it a run for its money. Anyway, best episode since Very Long Night, I'd say.
     
  7. Sykonee

    Sykonee Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Week 26: (Ending 03.22.98)
    B5 - In The Kingdom Of The Blind (Airdate 03.18.98)

    What!? No, not William! Why him? I thought he was totally loyal to Byron. Why's he walking out on him? Huh? Who's William? He's the funny telepath, remember? Has long, dark hair. Has been in nearly every scene involving the group. Um...

    Anyway, Byron puts his plan into action, gets served some more humble pie in the process, and sees all his hopes crumble as some of his followers begin to revolt with violence. Tsk.

    Londo and G'Kar get into some hijinx back on Centauri, and it seems someone with Dark Sinister Intentions is using their ships to create havoc. This could get even more interesting, but then that always seems to be the case whenever a major arc involving the Centauri starts in motion. Hopefully we get to see more of this soon, as the whole telepath arc appears to be reaching its apex.

    Weekly Winner
    B5

    Next:
    B5 - A Tragedy Of Telepaths
     
  8. mattyhugh

    mattyhugh Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I think someone recommended I take another look at Farscape a while back. While I have. And I owe them.
     
  9. Pemmer Harge

    Pemmer Harge Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Better. Much better! In the Kingdom of the Blind finally makes the telepath plot interesting and there's plenty of ominous stuff on Centauri Prime. I especially like that bit at the end "What could they be doing with our ships?". Oh, and this episode introduces one of my favourite aspects of Season 5 - the transformation of the Regent into a good character.
     
  10. Sykonee

    Sykonee Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Week 27: (Ending 03.29.98)
    B5 - A Tragedy Of Telepaths (Airdate 03.25.98)

    Hey, William didn't leave after all. Why'd he walk off at the end of the last episode then? Why am I even focusing so much on this extra anyway? I dunno. He's just... always there. Should have given him at least one line of dialog. Even that background security guy in VOY gets at least one line a season.

    This feels like a tide-over episode, where all the pieces are being moved into position for the climax next week (I hope, as I'd hate see this dragged out with more "I wanted to say goodbye" scenes; very definition of filler there). Meanwhile, we get a B-plot involving a loose end left over from earlier seasons, namely "whatever happened to Na'Toth?" S1 fans will probably approve. Oh, and a C-plot moving the random attacks thread a little further along.

    Meh. Don't know what to say with B5's solo run through March. Just felt like we've been treading water for a while now. Let's see if things finally pick back up with at least one of the Treks due to return next week.

    Weekly Winner
    B5

    Next:
    DS9 - Wrongs Darker Than Death Or Night
    B5 - Phoenix Rising
     
  11. Pemmer Harge

    Pemmer Harge Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Na'Toth! Ah man, I love Na'Toth! Especially since she's played by the original actress again. I genuinely am glad she's still alive and I thought this sub-plot was a lot of fun, given some substance by the flashbacks. I like the stuff with the telepaths on the station as well. Some exciting scenes. And Bester! It's not a great episode, but I think it's a good one. The quality's definitely picked up in the last few weeks.
     
  12. Sykonee

    Sykonee Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Week 28: (Ending 04.05.98)
    DS9 - Wrongs Darker Than Death Or Night (Airdate 04.01.98)
    B5 - Phoenix Rising (Airdate 04.01.98)

    Y'know, now that Londo and G'Kar seem to be buddies, B5's been lacking that one great continuing conflict between two compelling characters for a while now. However, we've had a potentially great one brewing for a many seasons now between Garibaldi and Bester, and now, I do believe, we can say their conflict has come to quite the crossroad. Just when you think Garibaldi might finally have an upper-hand on Bester, our plucky Psi-Cop drops the Asimov bomb on him. Oh, SHIT, man! Hm, I wonder if this means, if B5 ever continues long down the road, they'll somehow reconcile their differences and Garibaldi will end up being Bester's bodyguard? Er, on the other hand, I'm not sure if Bester would ever have an apologetic epiphany while suffering a heart-attack induced coma.

    Oh, and Byron gets his rogue telepaths under control, surrenders, blows himself up for some reason, and... yeah. That whole Byron arc just fizzled out. It felt like JMS didn't have any clear idea where he was going with it, so he axes the main character in it with a sloppy climax to the episode. The only time the arc got interesting was with the big Vorlon reveal. (or whenever Koenig was on screen, but then, to quote him, "People like me.") Ah well, it's done and over with. Now let's move onto that Centauri thing, eh?

    Meanwhile, Kira goes back in time to discover she actually hates the mother she never knew. Ouch, tough one there, sister. It's a quiet episode, this one, though with some well acted scenes throughout. In many ways, I find it a better episode than B5's offering this week. However, I also feel like we've seen this before: Terak Nor setting, Kira being steadfast in her distaste of Bajor's Enemies (even if it was her own mother, and not necessarily in a manner that was pure black-and-white).

    If B5 didn't have that silly end to Byron's arc (seriously, everyone's just standing around, guns pointed at each other, while he and Lyta say a lengthy goodbye right out in the open in the middle of a room! HUH!??:cardie: ), I might have given it the week; after all, the Bester/Garibaldi dynamic just keeps getting more fascinating every time they're on the screen together (get y'er head out of the gutter, you!). However, DS9, while not providing much new insight into Kira, was at least more interesting dramatically by the end.

    Weekly Winner
    DS9

    Next:
    DS9 - Inquisition
    VOY - Vis à Vis
    B5 - The Ragged Edge
     
  13. Pemmer Harge

    Pemmer Harge Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Yeah, this wasn't a great end to the telepath arc, especially since it actually became quite good in the last couple of episodes, in my opinion. Still, I can't say I'm gutted that it's over - it was clearly Babylon 5's weakest story arc and Byron never grabbed me.

    The Bester/Garibaldi stuff is good, however - though this wasn't that good an episode, it set a couple of interesting character arcs into motion.

    Wrongs Darker than Death or Night is pretty decent. The revelation about Kira's mother and Dukat seems unlikely and such blasé use of time travel was annoying, but this Necessary Evil schtick still pretty much works even the third time around. Oh, and we get to see the real Dukat again...
     
  14. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    The Bester/Garibaldi stuff set into motion by that episode surely is interesting. It's too bad its resolved in book form and not on screen (though it is a good book). But that goes back to the disinteresting way season five is structured (i.e. one season=one year). It worked for the first four seasons of the show, but I really wish JMS had abandoned it and told some more far-reaching storylines in season five. Oh well.

    I haven't seen "Wrongs Darker than Death or Night," but besides the cool title, I don't remember liking it much. It marks the beginning of Dukat as evil mustache twirler, no?
     
  15. DevilEyes

    DevilEyes Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Not really... Terok Nor Dukat is no more of a villain than he always was. We already knew about his practices regarding Bajoran women from "Things Past", and his manipulative behavior - particularly with women - wasn't anything new either, we just get to see his modus operandi in detail. He probably did believe that what he felt for Meru was love. Leaving the judgments on what we think deserves to bear that name, who's to say that what he felt for her wasn't love in his twisted way... the kind of abusive love that a master has for his pet, genuinely believing that this sweet and tender but inferior creature needs his protection, rather than freedom. (After all, this kind of love was rather popular for centuries and also went under the name 'marriage'... but I digress...) Dukat telling Nerys about him and Meru isn't out of his previous character either, from what we've seen of him in "In Purgatory's Shadow/By Inferno's Light" and the Dominion occupation arc. If there's an exact point where he turns to moustache-twirling villainy, it's "Tears of the Prophets" with the Pah-wraith possession and nonsensical motivations meant to pit Dukat as the anti-Emissary - though this would be full blown in season 7. (The fact that they inserted the line about not wanting to hurt Jadzia seems to have been a sign that the writers were not yet ready to go completely into the moustache-twirling territory...)

    Dukat's relationship with Meru is of course a major retcon, and it lead to some inconsistencies and tweaking of the timeline, character's ages, and Dukat's career... But on the plus side, 1) the Necessary Evil shtick does work, and 2) Meru's story and the ambiguity of her position (victim/collaborator? both?) is quite interesting. I really liked it as another shades of gray exploration of psychological, social and moral aspects of oppression and enslavement. As for Kira - Nerys, that is - this is one of those stories about Kira and the Occupation that I feel show that her character development is not finished, things that would be great to revisit in book form (or hck, even fanfic...) It's not surprising that she was unforgiving and judgmental of her mother in the episode, as it was all too close to home for so many reasons - that it was her mother, and that it was Dukat - but maybe some day she could be able to see things in perspective and understand that things weren't so black and white, and people like her mother that the Resistance deemed 'collaborators' were really also victims themselves. This is one of those moments that just make me think: "These are some issues that Kira still needs to work out". Another major one is, of course, the ending of "The Darkness and the Light" - whatever she said and what views she clung to, I am sure that she was deep inside troubled by some of the things she had done as a terrorist (she even admitted as much in season 1). It always seemed to me that Kira reverted to those black and white views from the Resistance days (You were all the enemy! Every Cardassian was a legitimate target. Every woman who sipped kanar with a Cardassian was a traitor and a collaborator) whenever she was confronted with something that deeply disturbed her on a very personal level and threatened to shatter her world and her emotional balance.
     
  16. TheGodBen

    TheGodBen Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I'd probably go with B5 here. I'm not a huge fan of Wrongs... because the use of time travel feels cheap, and they retconned in a relationship between Dukat and Meru just for this episode. It's not a bad episode, but it's not great. Pheonix Rising has that great scene between Bester and Garibaldi, so it wins out for me.
     
  17. flemm

    flemm Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Wrongs asks a lot of its viewers initially because we need to accept two gargantuan, glaring plot conveniences: the retconned relationship between Dukat and Kira's mother, and the time-travel via Orb that allows Kira to experience these events for herself.

    It may seem like a lot of plot leverage for a relatively modest payoff: another layer of complexity as far as Kira's troubled past is concerned, old wounds re-opened, issues that remain unresolved despite all the progress that has been made to move beyond them. It's an important detour, though, because, along with The Darkness and the Light and similar moments from the middle seasons, this episode keeps Kira's character arc from being too smooth and easy. It should be painful, and it is. There should be moments of regression and doubt, and there are.

    I would have liked to have seen a similar amount of consistent attention paid to Dukat as far as these issues are concerned. With Dukat, though, the show veers from naive colonialist apology in Indiscretion, which seems to think "brutal oppressors are people, too" is some kind of marvelous insight, to a simplistic view, perhaps by overcompensation, that seems to amount to, "See, we know... brutal oppressors are evil!" Somehow the writers are able to walk a fine line with Kira that they don't manage to walk consistently with Dukat, though he also has some great moments.

    The contrived plot devices in Wrongs don't bother me much for two reasons:

    1) Essentially this episode is an extended orb experience or vision: it's a spiritual journey, with the time travel element just being a way of rendering that experience concrete and accessible, both for the viewer and for the character. It's not really time travel in the standard science-fictiony sense.

    2) Kira and Dukat are microcosms of the Cardassian occupation of Bajor at this point, so the unlikelihood of the retcon is pretty much irrelevant: something like this happened somewhere on Bajor during the occupation, therefore it makes sense to use our "microcosm" characters to explore the possibility and its repercussions.

    Wrongs reminds me a bit of Honor Among Thieves in the sense that the premise is a bit odd and difficult to accept, but the actual results for the character are quite satisfying.

    Edit: Indiscretion probably deserves a discussion of its own, and I don't mean to exaggerate its flaws, but it does raise some issues that it is unable to deal with credibly. Some of those issues (thought not all) are raised again in Wrongs, with better results because we see Meru's point of view.
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2010
  18. Sykonee

    Sykonee Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Week 29: (Ending 04.12.98)
    DS9 - Inquisition (04.08.98)
    VOY - Vis à Vis (04.08.98)
    B5 - The Ragged Edge (04.08.98)

    I was really hoping, once Paris returns after being switched with Steth, that he'd find Steth begging to be back in the other body. Wouldn't that be much funnier?

    DS9 and B5 kicks VOY to the curb, again. It's a tough call between those two shows though - both were great.

    Inquisition throws Bashir through the ol' wringer, bringing up tough question about his career and actions that could be deemed suspicious when looked at from certain perspectives. Then, it drops the bomb that not only was it all a ruse - something that could possibly be guessed due to the way the episode played out - but that it was implemented by a rogue agency within Federation itself! Section 31, now who are these guys? We've never heard of 'em before, yet their existence does make a degree of sense, the sort of department that could have started back when Starfleet was just a fledgling organization. Though perhaps crucial back when mankind was first taking steps out into space, its need would probably subside, at least in any official capacity; however, it lingered nonetheless, and has remained in the background for all this time. The possibilities with Section 31 are endless, and with an ending like that, a follow-up looks all but guaranteed. Lookin' forward to it!

    B5, meanwhile, finally gets moving with its own new story arc, that being the mystery behind random attacks on Alliance ships. Our Heroes finally get some clues regarding it, though Garibaldi has to get his John McClane on here. Seriously, Jerry Doyle's comparison to Bruce Willis only seems to get more apt here, in that he can't go an episode without bleeding anymore (the old joke was that it's not a Bruce Willis Movie until he bleeds).

    That's the A-plot; however, there's plenty more going on in the Ragged Edge which is just as interesting. You got G'Kar having to deal with the revelation that his revelation (from way back in S3's Dust To Dust) has suddenly become a revelation to several thousand Narns. The discussion he and Ta'Lon have regarding that responsibility is just as profound as anything we've seen G'Kar have to deal with. Also, we get to see what the Drazi homeworld looks like, which is wonderfully alien and so... Drazi! And Franklin informs Sheridan that he's gotten an Earth-side promotion, which means yet another member of B5's family is hittin' the road at the end of the year.

    In the end, B5 gets this week, mainly for the fact that, unlike DS9, it mostly all happened (re: not a holodeck simulation). While Bashir and Sloan's interactions may have been sincere, a lot of the drama that occurred between Bashir and the rest of the crew was not, thus leaving the audience feeling slightly cheated in the process. Still, both were strong.

    Weekly Winner
    B5

    Next:
    DS9 - In The Pale Moonlight
    VOY - The Omega Directive
    B5 - The Corps Is Mother, The Corps Is Father
     
  19. flemm

    flemm Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    It's a shame DS9 couldn't pull out a win with Inquisition, as it has no chance at all next week :rofl:

    I agree that the illusory aspect of Section 31's first appearance keeps it from being a truly great episode, though it is still very good. I'm always amused at the litany of suspicious incidents from Bashir's past that Sloan brings up. There are actually quite a few valid points such as the ease of Bashir's escape from the Dominion prison camp and near treasonous complicity with the Jack Pack. I like it when the writers poke fun at themselves :)

    Incidentally, whenever I watch this episode, I always feel like the writers are tiptoeing around two really bold choices that could have been interesting to pursue, one being that Bashir really is a conditioned Dominion spy, which could have led to him becoming a double agent, the second being Bashir going ahead and joining Section 31, which could have been a lot of fun as well, presumably with him eventually becoming disenchanted with some of their more extreme tactics. Still, even as is, Section 31 is a really cool idea to introduce into the Trek universe, and we do get some satisfying follow-up to this episode.
     
  20. Pemmer Harge

    Pemmer Harge Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Ah, I'm not quite as crazy about either Inquisition or The Ragged Edge as you are, but I'd probably give B5 the win here. A lot off things happen, which is good, although I had a few issues with the execution of some of it (e.g. the Sheridan/Franklin scene felt off somehow). That said, more excellent stuff with Garibaldi. I must say, to me, this episode, despite its flaws, felt a lot more like Babylon 5 somehow than the telepath storyline did.

    Inquisition is pretty good, but I don't think it quite lived up to the promise of its premise. I'm not a huge fan of Sloan, either.
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2010

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