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.

?

Was the ending Deus Ex Machina?

  1. Yes

    24 vote(s)
    37.5%
  2. No

    40 vote(s)
    62.5%
  1. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Again, the problem is that you keep using words that are rooted in our concept of time. "Suddenly" is not a word that has any meaning when talking about timeless beings.


    Because for them, no time passed, and every moment in the entire history of the universe was "just then." You need to set aside the very concept of time passing, of things happening in any order or at any pace, in order to grasp how the Prophets think or how causality works for them. Just think of how one event causes another. Ignore our perception of their relative order or separation. Just think of the progression of cause to effect without bringing time into consideration at all.
     
  2. Tiberius

    Tiberius Commodore Commodore

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    That wasn't a DEM.

    Not too hard to connect two computers together. And when one of them is an intelligent life form, it won't be hard for it to figure out how to communicate.

    Because the Borg were putting all that energy to regenerating when there was nothing that needed to be regenerated. It's like turning on the tap full and not letting the water go anywhere. Sooner or later the pressure builds up and it blows.
     
  3. Jerikka Dawn

    Jerikka Dawn Commander Red Shirt

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    Additionally, even if the Prophets had a linear existence, which they don't, there is absolutely nothing in the dialog to suggest they just "suddenly" found out anything. Nothing suggests they "just found out."

    Also --

    Two things were at play here -- Sisko had a responsibility as a Starfleet officer to do what he could to stop the Dominion reinforcements, and if that meant sacrificing himself, so be it. The Prophets couldn't allow that, though and had plans for The Sisko, and him sacrificing himself was simply not an option.

    Far from being a Deus Ex Machina, the Prophets had no choice but to intervene. One can call that "writing into a corner," but IMO they would be wrong, because I see this as an evolution of his character going all the way back to the episode Emissary. They wrote Sisko and The Prophets into a corner, on purpose. This ending was about Sisko truly being the Emissary and making the Prophets put up or shut up with regard to Bajor, and to just see it as a DEM, IMO, misses the whole point of Sisko's arc.
     
  4. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Quite right. As I've been saying, the people arguing that it's a deus ex machina are focusing only on the plot, on who does what, and that's the wrong way to look at it, because the DS9 writing staff, as proteges of Michael Piller, followed his philosophy of approaching everything from the perspective of character first and foremost.
     
  5. DWF

    DWF Admiral Admiral

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    It's one way of looking at it not necessarily the wrong way to look at it. snce they added Godlike beiings from the start and using tem takes the solution out fo the hands of the main characters. It's hard not to see this as a DEM since a Godlike race was used to solve a problem at the last minute.
     
  6. Pavonis

    Pavonis Commodore Commodore

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    That's a far too literal interpretation of what a DEM is.

    You didn't like the resolution of the episode - fine. But just because it involved godlike entities doesn't make it a DEM.
     
  7. Tiberius

    Tiberius Commodore Commodore

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    By that logic, Q Who was a DEM as well, despite the fact that everything in that episode flowed logically.
     
  8. Nightdiamond

    Nightdiamond Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Personally, I was fascinated by the ending of SOA.

    At that point, I didn't know if the Prophets were even capable of doing anything, let alone if they even cared.

    There might be few nitpicks about the scene, (IMO) but I don't think of it as a DEM, I thought it pretty cool.

    If anything I though it was some clever writing that stretched the suspense all the way to the last minute.


    Not necessarily-- you can't run an Android App on a Windows computer or Apple device, and visa verse--different operating systems.

    It wouldn't be a stretch to assume there would be a big difference between the Borg's computer (alien and from the Delta Quadrant) and Data's brain.

    How many times in Trek do we see a human or alien walk up to another alien computer that they've never encountered before and then just start punching a lot of keys and accessing info- that in itself probably produced a lot of mini DEM moments.

    It would be like an English only speaking person going up to a computer with only Chinese, and quickly accessing a program or something .

    I don't consider Data connecting with the Borg a DEM, as much as the sudden explosion of the Borg cube, which wraps up the danger quickly and cleanly.

    Other wise, the Cube is just standing there which makes the situation awkward at the end of the episode..

    True, but it's hard to believe that a being/ship as technically advanced as the Borg wouldn't notice the energy feeding back on itself, at a dangerous level, and stop regenerating. No sensors, no awareness?

    Or have simple IF/THEN A.I rules, such as 'if energy level is stable, and regeneration is in progress, then stop regeneration process'.

    And then Shelby offers to try and disable the process, as if she knew how?

    It seemed too much like a techno babble based DEM, IMO.
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2012
  9. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

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    Yes but as that god like race had been established in the very first episode (and of having influence over ships in the wormhole) it isn't a Deus ex Machina. If they had suddenly introduced them in this episode then it would have been a Deus ex Machina.

    Dues ex machina usually require some new element not previously introduced/established that seemingly comes out of nowhere. The wormhole aliens weren't a new element.
     
  10. DWF

    DWF Admiral Admiral

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    Usually but of course not always and in this case a person watching the story for the first time would never have suspected it to end that way. Those same beings could be used to prevent the Dominion from taking their fleet to Cardassia Prime in the first place, there would've been no need for minefield.
     
  11. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

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    ^So if the writers end a story in an unexpected way it could be classed as a Deus ex Machina.
     
  12. Pavonis

    Pavonis Commodore Commodore

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    The existence of characters and plots are clearly DEMs, since without the godlike writer, neither would exist or be resolved! If stretching definitions until they break is going to be the norm, then the entirety of Trek is a deus ex machina.
     
  13. Jerikka Dawn

    Jerikka Dawn Commander Red Shirt

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    Except that the fact that the Bajorans worshipped the wormhole aliens as gods does not automatically make this a DEM -- and the solution to the issue was never out of the hands of the main characters. As you said, a godlike race (from the perspective of the Bajorans) was used to solve the problem. Emphasis -- used -- by Sisko. Sisko forced the issue and he solved the problem. That's the most important thing to get out of the ending of this episode.
     
  14. DWF

    DWF Admiral Admiral

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    Used by the writers not by Sisko, from their point they knew all along that they would stop the fleet.
     
  15. DWF

    DWF Admiral Admiral

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    Talk about jumping to a conclusion, but the Prophets weren't an element in the war prior to the final minutes of the ep., if they knew that Bajor was in danger why didn't they act sooner? They were hell bent to give us a war on DS9 and in the end it was a retconned desease used weapon of genocide by an organization that wasn't even a part of the Federation. And it's work of art subject to the viewer's interpretation of events not the intention of the writer, it's not much of a stretch to think the people would see the end of Sacrifice of Angels as a DEM.
     
  16. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Okay, one more time: "deus ex machina" as a literary term does not mean "using gods to solve the problem." That's what it originally meant two thousand years ago. We do not live in Ancient Greece, so that is not the correct way to define the term. It means using any gratuitous plot device that comes out of nowhere to solve the problem without any prior setup in the story. If the gods were set up earlier in the story, then their involvement in the solution is not a deus ex machina.
     
  17. DWF

    DWF Admiral Admiral

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    So while the Prophets were set up from the start of the series, they weren't in the Dominion war story arc until this ep.

    DEMs were used all the time, it's strange that only recently it's somehow become associated with bad storytelling. If they're done well nobody notices or even cares, Doctor Who's Pyramids Of Mars is a great example of a DEM that works and few people notice or care about.
     
  18. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

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    ^and the fact that they weren't used in the Dominion story line upto that point doesn't mean a thing.
     
  19. DWF

    DWF Admiral Admiral

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    Yes it does, Star Trek has created a number of Godlike beings who jsut as easily have ended the war if they cared including Q and the Organians, there's all kinds of plot elements out there for them have used. In the end they picked one and ended that part of the story arc but the Dominion war continued and outside of a final battle with the Pah Wraiths they have very little to do with the rest of the series.
     
  20. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

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    ^Yes but the prophets were of Bajor, they sent visions of what would happen to Bajor a plague of locusts(?)

    As for having very little to do with the rest of the battle, who knows how many times after the wormhole alines intervention the dominion tried to send ships through to see if they could make it.