Sacrifice of the Angels Ending A Deus Ex Machina?

Discussion in 'Star Trek: Deep Space Nine' started by M.A.C.O., Oct 27, 2012.

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Was the ending Deus Ex Machina?

  1. Yes

    24 vote(s)
    37.5%
  2. No

    40 vote(s)
    62.5%
  1. Jerikka Dawn

    Jerikka Dawn Commander Red Shirt

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    Ok, so what we've come to is that the ending was a Deus Ex Machina based on a half-definition from a search engine, not a dictionary, and the trustworthiness of the Dominion to be nice.

    Gotcha :D
     
  2. Tiberius

    Tiberius Commodore Commodore

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    Actually, I have no idea how the Dominion's trustworthiness came into it.

    A DEM is a way of solving a problem which comes out of nowhere, using previously unknown characters and a large dose of luck.

    None of this applied to the end of SoA. The prophets had been clearly established, the fact that the Prophets did it spoke volumes to Sisko's relationship with them (as well as the fact that he was half prophet) and no luck was involved.

    So I don't see how it was DeM.
     
  3. Vanyel

    Vanyel The Imperious Leader Premium Member

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    He wasn't half Prophet though. A Prophet possessed his Human mother and forced her to marry his father and conceive Benjamin. Once the Prophet released Sisko's mother she left them. She them stayed away from the Wormhole until it was time to free it from the Pah Wraiths. That whole story line itself is also a DEM.

    Whenever you deal with beings of extraordinary powers or abilities you cannot help but face the fact that sooner or later or multiple times those powers will be used to overcome an insurmountable problem.
     
  4. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    See post #80. Knight Templar alleged that Sisko had lied to the Prophets to win their support because there was no evidence that the Dominion had any intention of harming Bajor. So KT was assuming the Dominion could be trusted to keep its word.


    Not necessarily characters. It can be an event, an object, a sudden heart attack -- anything that comes out of the blue to solve the problem rather than being a logical outgrowth of the story and characters established so far.
     
  5. Tiberius

    Tiberius Commodore Commodore

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    As a short term thing, yes, the Dom could be trusted. But only because if the Dom had attacked Bajor, the Breen, for example, never would have joined with them. At the time, it served the Dominion's best interests to appear to be trustworthy. Once appearing trustworthy no longer served the Dom's interests, that treaty would go out the window.

    Thanks for the reference. :)

    true, character, event etc. Same diff.

    The point is that it does not logically follow from what has happened before. Thus, if we can show that the Prophets helping Sisko DOES logically flow from what we know, then it can not be a DEM.

    And since the prophets had a plan for Sisko which did not involve him dying in a Dominion attack, and since we know that the Prophets went out of their way to make sure Ben was born and that we saw what their plan was for Ben in the final episode, the prophets helping Ben in SoA is clearly a logical extension of all of that.

    So it wasn't a DeM.
     
  6. Vanyel

    Vanyel The Imperious Leader Premium Member

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    But since they knew they needed him, had him born through what could be called (in the broadest sense a rape) they knew they were going to have to save him. Looking at it in that sense that they were going to make sure he fulfills his destiny for them, takes all the tension out of the series. They intervened to protect him from a situation that would kill him. Sounds pretty close to DEM.
     
  7. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Uhh, that last sentence is a complete non sequitur. What you're saying is that it removed the tension because it was a predictable and inevitable extension of what had been established elsewhere in the series. That's the exact opposite of a deus ex machina, which is a resolution that is not based on anything previously established, that has no logical connection to any prior story thread.

    Also, I disagree with the rest of your analysis. Yes, it's a given that the Prophets needed him alive; they said as much in the episode. But the key point, the thing that makes it a meaningful character conflict, is that they and Sisko disagreed on how to achieve that goal. The Prophets urged Sisko not to sacrifice himself, to avoid taking on the Dominion fleet singlehandedly. But he stood up to them and refused to submit to their will. He forced them to bend to his will for a change.

    This is the mistake being made by people who think it's a DEM. They're focusing on who performs the key action, which in this case was the Prophets, but that's not what matters from a story standpoint. What matters is whose decision, whose will and desire, is responsible for bringing about the outcome. Stories are driven by wants and needs. The Prophets' wish was for Sisko to avoid confronting the Dominion fleet, and for themselves to avoid intervening in mortal affairs. That's what would've happened if their will had predominated, if they'd been the decision-makers here. But they weren't. It was Sisko's will, Sisko's decision, that prevailed. He chose to confront the fleet and forced the Prophets to intervene more aggressively in order to save him. The outcome was a direct consequence of the protagonist's own initiative and choices, and that is anything but a deus ex machina.
     
  8. Pavonis

    Pavonis Commodore Commodore

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    How do you know that? The Breen weren't a friendly power to any of the other Alpha Quadrant states. They attacked and imprisoned Bajorans and Cardassians alike. They menaced Bajoran colonies. They were a legitimate suspect in attacks on Federation ships and installations. So what makes you think the Breen would've been averse to joining the Dominion if they might've "broken their word"? It's possible that the Breen were encouraged to join by the Dominion promising to attack Bajor!
     
  9. Tiberius

    Tiberius Commodore Commodore

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    But, by definition, a DEM comes out of nowhere and does not logically follow from anything that has come before. In this case it did, so it wasn't a DEM.

    It can't be claimed it was a DEM just because it was some gods who did it.
     
  10. Tiberius

    Tiberius Commodore Commodore

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    So the conversation would have gone...

    WEYOUN: We promised not to attack the Bajorans, and we broke our word. We promised not to attack the Cardassians, and we broke our word. And now, we promise not to attack the Breen. But we won't break our word with you!

    THOT WHOEVER: Yeah, that sounds legit.
     
  11. Pavonis

    Pavonis Commodore Commodore

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    You're assuming the Dominion approached the Breen about joining. It could have been the other way around, with the Breen approaching the Dominion about joining. In that case, there would be no discussion of "not attacking" the Breen, since that wouldn't be an issue.

    And remember, a Breen was imprisoned at Camp 371, so there was at least one changeling operating among the Breen. That fact suggests to me that a changeling manipulated the Breen into joining.
     
  12. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I always got the impression that the Breen were opportunists who willingly latched onto the Dominion in the hopes of increasing their power. I doubt they had to be manipulated into it; they just saw what they figured was the winning side and asked to jump on the bandwagon.
     
  13. Pavonis

    Pavonis Commodore Commodore

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    Probably, Christopher. Still, there was very likely a changeling among the Breen, what with that prisoner at Camp 371. The only other prisoners were survivors of the battle over the Founder's homeworld, and the rest - Martok and Bashir - were definitely impersonated by changelings. It's probable that the Breen prisoner was impersonated, too. Still, that changeling may have had no impact on the Breen's decision to join, or perhaps only had to say something like "Hey, we should side with the Dominion!" and the rest of the population said "OK!"
     
  14. Vanyel

    Vanyel The Imperious Leader Premium Member

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    And that then undermines the whole premise of the Prophets. They see the past present and future as one. To them time is like what looking down on a ruler is us, all one thing. If Sisko had to convince them into doing what he wanted then they no longer see time as one. If a point in time needs to brought to their attention, they no longer see time as one. Which is it?
     
  15. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    There's no real contradiction there. The idea that there is a contradiction is based on the perception that the Prophets "know in advance" what's going to happen and thus don't have to be convinced. But that doesn't make sense because there is no "in advance" from the Prophets' POV, no before or after. Everything is right now to them. Cause and effect are simultaneous.

    But the key is that there still has to be a cause. Yes, they have "always known" that they would have to do this. But why did they know that? Because Sisko told them they would have to do this. To us, from our linear perspective, it looks like they had foreknowledge that he would tell them and that it was therefore redundant for him to tell them. But they didn't have foreknowledge, because the concept of "before" does not apply to their perception. They just had knowledge. To them, Sisko telling them happens at the same time as everything else in the universe. It's still the cause that produces the effect, the motivation that provokes them to act. Whether it comes before or after their awareness of that result has no meaning from their perspective, because to them there is no such thing as before and after. There's only cause and effect occurring simultaneously. And effects still need their causes.
     
  16. Vanyel

    Vanyel The Imperious Leader Premium Member

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    Si if Sisko's argument wasn't persuasive enough, would they have let him die or plucked him off the Defiant and put him the Fire Caves for his destiny? Or let him die? Or say well he wasn't really our Emissary, this person is.
     
  17. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    That's not what I'm saying at all. It's difficult to understand ideas of causality that lie outside our normal perceptions of time. I've had years of practice from studying physics, but it's still a challenge for me. Just keep in mind that what can look like a contradiction from one perspective can be entirely consistent from a different perspective. How we perceive reality is relative to our frame of reference, and thus two seemingly contradictory perceptions can both be correct.
     
  18. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

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    ^As you say Christopher, the concept can be difficult to understand, yet alone try and explaon.

    As explained in "Emissary" they don't percieve time in a linear motion as we do.
     
  19. Distorted Humor

    Distorted Humor Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I do think the Breen had a lot of potential that ds9 only tapped
     
  20. Nightdiamond

    Nightdiamond Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Still, why were the Prophets suddenly aware of the idea that Bajor might be destroyed just then?

    After all the time that passed, they are suddenly convinced just then that it could happen--

    One good DEM is from one of the most popular episodes, The Best of Both Worlds.

    After Data can somehow link with the Borg and convince them to sleep, suddenly theres a power feedback loop that somehow, for some reason causes the entire ship to completely explode.

    BAM! No more Borg to worry about. lol

    That explosion was a little too convenient.