Sacrifice of Angels , Ex Deus Machina?

Discussion in 'Deep Space Nine' started by WesleysDisciple, Mar 23, 2013.

  1. WesleysDisciple

    WesleysDisciple Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    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.
     
  2. Dream

    Dream Admiral Admiral

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  3. DalekJim

    DalekJim Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    It's not really a deus ex machina. We'd seen the Prophets do more extraordinary things than just closing the wormhole.

    It was a bit of a copout though, and not the most satisfying way to end one of DS9's greatest storylines.
     
  4. Dal Rassak

    Dal Rassak Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I read in the DS9 Companion that the writers didn't intend it that way and apparently got quite cross when a lot of fans took it exactly that way. Writer's intentions aside, I also think that this it how it came across.

    In the pilot, where the Prophets are introduced, they specifically do not interfere in the affairs of linear beings; their only desire is to be left largely in peace once they've ascertained that the "invaders" of their home aren't hostile to them. All the more involved Prophet stuff and the whole shebang with Sisko's entire existence being arranged for etc. only got grafted on later as the writers developed this idea; it wasn't in the original concept and to me it never stuck convincingly.

    So yes, it made sense that these beings would interfere on Sisko's behalf since they can't afford to have him die, but it annoyed the shit out of me. There should have been a big showdown confrontation between the two main antagonists, a real back-and-forth fight for control of the station.
    Instead when it looks like he's going to lose, Sisko can just call on the aid of some god-like beings who conveniently make an entire enemy fleet disappear. Isn't that just nice and dandy for him. No amount of strategy or strength on the part of your opponent can compete with that. Lame and unconvincing.
     
  5. DS9forever

    DS9forever Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Sisko had to basically plead with the Prophets to intervene, they didn't just decide to help. The actions of the Prophets was also a big part of Sisko's decision to help them in return in "The Reckoning".
     
  6. Dover

    Dover Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

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    Maybe this is just my take on religion in general, but I don't like the idea that keeps growing in later seasons that everything that happens on DS9 is predestined as the will of the Prophets
    at least as far back as Sisko's birth
    . What's the point of watching the show if there are all-powerful beings to always get the characters back on track?

    I don't mind the Prophets' existence, but I felt like in later seasons I stopped caring as much about the decisions the characters were making, because it seemed like there was too much hand-holding by the Prophets (and the Pah Wraiths, for that matter.)
     
  7. DalekJim

    DalekJim Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    The Prophey/Emissary plotline in Season 7 is unforgivably bad. I have no idea what anybody on the writing team was thinking. 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.
     
  8. sonak

    sonak Vice Admiral Admiral

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    yes it is. It's actually the rare case of being a LITERAL deus ex machina instead of the metaphorical kind.
     
  9. -Brett-

    -Brett- Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    It fails to meet the definition of Deus Ex Machina. The existance of the Prophets was established six years earlier, as was their residing in the wormhole. They weren't new. Their intervention was not sudden or unexpected. Their absence from the episode would have been stranger and more implausible.
     
  10. DS9forever

    DS9forever Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Sisko's birth being brought about by the Prophets actually makes more sense than him being the one to discover the wormhole - Jadzia was with him in the runabout and Akorem Laan entered the wormhole two hundred years earlier.
     
  11. Worf'sParmach

    Worf'sParmach Commander Red Shirt

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    Agreed. I was okay with the whole Emissary thing right up until he was "born of a Virgin Sarah." I have said it before and I will say it again, I think it would have been more impactful had he chosen to leave Starfleet and moved to Bajor after the war to "preach the gospel." It would have showed him willingly accepting Bajor as his destiny instead of it being forced on him.
     
  12. WesleysDisciple

    WesleysDisciple Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    know its been a while but need to say this.

    Back to the episode with the poet from centuries ago, who tried to ressurct the D'jarra system.

    When the prophet shaped like opaka, tells him "you are of Bajor" it suggests theirs SOMETHING not yet revealed.
     
  13. Charles Phipps

    Charles Phipps Captain Captain

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    Well it's an act of gods, which is a bit different.

    I'd argue that in the face of a situation we rarely see our heroes on television go through the list of things our heroes have encountered. Part of what I enjoyed about Stargate was when they faced a new threat, they'd usually go down the list of people they'd met who had superior technology in order to get help (Asgard or whoever).

    Sisko knew the Prophets and asked them for help.

    He got it.
     
  14. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Honestly, I'm not sure how Our Heroes could possibly have won otherwise.
     
  15. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

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    Well we had seen the wormhole aliens affect in passage of ships through the wormhole before, so it wasn't as if they suddenly introduced some new ability. The wormhole aliens had also been in the show since the pilot so it wasn't as if they indroduced something new. So no I don't think it was a Deus Ex Machina.

    You could perhaps argue it was a contrived ending but that isn't the same thing as a Dues Ex Machina.
     
  16. Dale Sams

    Dale Sams Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    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.
     
  17. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    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.")
     
  18. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

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    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.
     
  19. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    Well, that's why I used the qualifier of de facto.
     
  20. Charles Phipps

    Charles Phipps Captain Captain

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    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.