TheGodBen Revisits Deep Space Nine

Discussion in 'Star Trek: Deep Space Nine' started by TheGodBen, Oct 16, 2011.

  1. TheGodBen

    TheGodBen Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Little Green Men (***½)

    Few episodes of Star Trek are as absurd as this one. On the surface it's absurd because the idea of Quark, Rom, and Nog being the aliens at the centre of the Roswell incident is pretty damn crazy. But under the surface it's an episode where a species that are supposed to be a commentary on 20th century humans do their own commentary on actual 20th century humans, and that's a whole other level of absurdity.

    My problem with most of the Ferengi episodes so far is that they have been all Ferengi all the time and that gets pretty tiresome. My favourite Ferengi episodes are the ones where they interact with other species, be it the Klingons as in The House of Quark or the Vorta as in The Magnificent Ferengi. For similar reasons, I like this episode because they're interacting with humans from the 1940s. Just like the The House of Quark poked fun at the crazy aspects of Klingon culture that had usually been played straight in the past, Little Green Men pokes fun at the absurdity of our own culture. The ironic thing is that it's more effective at doing so than the Ferengi ever were in their original incarnation.

    Once again Trek falls prey to the casual use of time travel, but this time it's not much of a problem for me because the episode isn't supposed to be taken seriously. Past Tense and Visionary conveyed time travel as serious business and tried to wring drama out of convoluted, magical temporalbabble. This episode doesn't care about preserving the timeline, there's no message that it's trying to convey (except, perhaps, that smoking is bad), it's just trying to have fun with a silly concept and it threw in a few good gags along the way. That's enough for me this time.

    Form of... an Alsatian: 20
     
  2. Thor Damar

    Thor Damar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I have to admit that I had a good old chuckle at the Ferengi attempts to communicate with the 'Australians'. :lol:
     
  3. Deranged Nasat

    Deranged Nasat Vice Admiral Admiral

    The funniest bit for me is Quark's attempt to demonstrate his in-depth knowledge of human culture:

    "Baseball...root beer...darts...atom bombs".
     
  4. tomalak301

    tomalak301 Admiral Premium Member

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    I know I'm a bit late, but I've never really made the connection between The Visitor and the finale before. I can understand what you're saying though, but it would have been nice to get one more final scene between Ben and Jake in the finale. Actually, thinking about this episode while watching the finale, I get upset that there wasn't that final scene between father and son because that dynamic worked so well in the series as a whole.
     
  5. Seven of Five

    Seven of Five Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Little Green Men is one of the better Ferengi romps, and I still find it funny today. I think just having Quark, Rom and Nog is a good start, as well as having them challenging the 'strange' 20th century they find themselves in, even though that's whom they were based on! :lol:

    It's all good fun.
     
  6. Wereghost

    Wereghost Part-time poltergeist Rear Admiral

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    LGM is one of the best fish-out-of water Trek episodes that I can recall. It was certainly absurd, but pitched in a way that it's absurdity was a given rather than a flaw in concept or execution. Shimmerman was typically great, if I recall, and I liked the use of the Universal Translators" I'm a sucker for stories that take an aspect of a show's mythology and then play along with them logically for a little while to further the plot. I'd say four stars, a really strong episode.
     
  7. TheGodBen

    TheGodBen Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Yeah, that's one of my issues about the finale. I don't so much care about the reused battle footage of the lack of Terry Farrell in the montage, those were production issues, but Jake not being involved in that scene between Sisko and Kasidy was a missed opportunity.


    Starship Down (**½)

    Star Trek decides to do a submarine episode and this is the result. It's like the battle of the Mutara Nebula from TWOK but it lasts for 40 minutes and doesn't have any consequences. Saving the crew of a minor race to secure a trade agreement created off-screen doesn't have quite the impact of creating a magical new planet and the death of Spock. Still, the submarine battle stuff works well enough and it's an interesting change of pace from the fast-paced action the Defiant is usually involved in. Production-wise, there's plenty to admire about this episode from the visual effects to the set-design.

    The story is a bit convoluted, there's four main threads and none of them have much to do with the other. Firstly, there's the story where Kira looks after Sisko while he's slowly dying. It's a bit annoying how the show brings up Kira's belief in Sisko as the Emissary whenever it needs it and then drops it the rest of the time. It made some sort of sense in Destiny, but here it feels a bit forced. Meanwhile, Worf learns how to deal with non-commissioned engineers. It makes sense that engineers prefer being given problems to solve rather than obediently following orders like a security officer, it makes you wonder how O'Brien made that transition in the past. Meanwhile meanwhile, Bashir and Jadzia are trapped in a lift and forced to cuddle for warmth. Oh the humanity! On the one hand, this minor plot shows that Bashir has grown over time, but the claim that Jadzia secretly liked Bashir's stalker phase is a bit questionable. It cuts a little too close to what creepy men like to think in order to justify their unhealthy attitude towards women. Meanwhile meanwhile meanwhile, Quark teaches James Cromwell about the value of gambling. Yes, that's what people need to learn, that investing your money into a venture where the odds are stacked against you in the hope that luck will be on your side is preferable to sound financial investments. I'm personally blaming this episode for the current financial crisis.

    Overall, the episode is okay, it's a mildly entertaining action episode with some interesting character material. It's far from the series' best episode but it's not bad.
     
  8. flemm

    flemm Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I like Starship Down, it's an entertaining episode, but it doesn't really succeed in being more than the sum of its moderately interesting parts.

    In the early going, the writers seem to have had two main ideas that they wanted to explore with Worf, one being the idea that he didn't really "fit in" on DS9, and the other being his need to adjust to a command role (the one we see in this episode).

    I don't think either really pans out, and both are basically dropped before too long, in favor of Worf becoming more true to his "Klingon heart," and less a Starfleet officer with identity issues due to his heritage. That ends up working much better.

    In this episode, the Worf subplot is ok, but I don't find the basic problem very convincing. Surely Starfleet engineers can take a problem-solving approach without being prompted to do so? And, in a life-or-death situation like this, nothing Worf does or says prior to the Chief intervening really seems out of line.

    As for the Kira/Sisko interactions, I think prior episodes, like Destiny, as well as future ones, such as Rapture, do a better job of handling the question of Kira's faith in the Emissary. The situation here is just too contrived to have much of an impact. It's not a total loss or anything, though, and it does seem to move the characters' relationship forward a bit, toward actual friendship.
     
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2012
  9. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

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    One question...who made that claim, Jadzia or Bashir?
     
  10. Deranged Nasat

    Deranged Nasat Vice Admiral Admiral

    One minor point in the episode's favour is its use of the Karemma instead of aliens-of-the-week. Even though it isn't being overt with it or placing such matters in the foreground, having the show's arc format reinforced even in largely stand-alone plots is a welcome move. The Ferengi's efforts to open the Gamma Quadrant to commercial exploitation through courting Dominion member races is an established thread in the ongoing story, and it's to the episode's credit that it makes use of such threads even if the episode isn't actually focused on advancing the arch-plot.
     
  11. Ln X

    Ln X Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Everyone has missed this one simple fact; this episode is an emulation of TNG's Disaster. Except Starship Down does it better:

    1. Better reason for all the crazy shit happening to the Defiant.
    2. A greater sense of tension.
    3. It all looks better.
    4. Quark and the Karama guy were just brill.
    5. Kira emotional pouring towards her beloved (and dying) Emissary.
    6. It was a bit more memorable.
    7. Worf's an insensitive prick.
    8. Cooler setting in some... (er forgot; nebula?)

    The only forced bits were Worf and O'Briens interactions mid-way through the episode. I loved Quark and that Karama guy! They were so awesome in disarming the torpedo; it still puts a grin on my face every time.

    TNG's Disaster was let down by two things: one some random anamoly damages the ship, two the scenes with those children and Picard. Starship Down flows in a more logical way, and Disaster is only so impressive because it was a bit unprecendented when it aired in terms of Star Trek, whereas with this episode... (see the top-most paragraph)

    This episode should be seven stars (possibly eight) as it is more than average, if it were average I would only find it somewhat riveting and gripping. This episode ain't great but it is somewhere in the good to very good range.
     
  12. flemm

    flemm Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    ^So... Did you like it? :)

    I do like it, and find it very re-watchable. I don't think it's great, but it's one of those episodes I can thrown on from time to time and enjoy.

    It's true that it's pretty similar to Disaster, but is sufficiently rooted in the DS9 meta-story to not really feel all that derivative.
     
  13. Kestrel

    Kestrel Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I like Starship Down, and I can see the parallels with Disaster, but... I like Disaster better, sorry. Even the Picard and the kids stuff!
     
  14. MrBorg

    MrBorg Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I liked Starship Down, and Little Green Men.

    Necessary Evil was the episode that I first watched of DS9 that got me interested, but Little Green Men was the episode that got me started on DS9, for real.
     
  15. TheGodBen

    TheGodBen Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Bashir made the claim, Jadzia half-heartedly denied it, then Bashir got the last word.


    The Sword of Kahless (**½)

    I'm a Terry Pratchett fan, because I figure if I'm going to be a nerd then I may as well go all the way into the depths of comic fantasy. My favourite of his novels is Men at Arms, a story about an assassin that acquires the Discworld's first and only gun but is unprepared for the magical power that such a weapon would hold over him. I think you can see where I'm going with this. So I like the core concept of this episode, but it needs an interesting story to hold it together. Men at Arms had that, The Sword of Kahless not so much. What starts out promising to be an epic quest ends up with three characters hunting spiny rats in the Star Trek cave set.

    Is the sword of Kahless magical? According to the writers the answer is no, being in the presence of such an important artefact caused Worf and Kor's lust for power to consume them. Okay, I like that idea, Star Trek has done the whole alien influence thing enough times that it's refreshing that this episode chose to go another way. The problem with that decision however is that it makes both Worf and Kor look like massive tools and they have no excuse for it. Whatever about Kor, but Worf is a Starfleet officer and he should be able to control his more violent urges by now rather than acting like a child. The solution to the "problem" also seems like overkill. Just because Worf and Kor can't control themselves around the sword doesn't mean that all Klingons will act that way, but rather than man up and admit their failings they put all the blame on the sword and send it out into space, denying billions of Klingons their heritage. That's not a message I'm willing to get behind.

    The first half of the episode is pretty good, and I do like that they bring back some continuity from TNG rather than inventing some new adversary for the heroes to fight. Overall, it's an interesting concept with a strong start that ends up getting lost in a cave somewhere.

    Sykonee's Counter: 18
     
  16. Seven of Five

    Seven of Five Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    The Sword of Kahless was very average for me. It starts off with a lot of talk that makes it sound like we're in for a treat, particularly as I enjoyed Blood Oath so much. Kor being back was a hoot, and I enjoyed having him back in season seven all over again.

    The episode soon decends into dullness though. Kor and Worf squibbling is silly, and I thought that having Toral being the enemy was a bit random. I agree that it was a nice callback, as back in TNG he was just there as a plot point. It didn't help that I hadn't seen all of TNG when I first saw this episode though, so I didn't know who he was or what role he'd played before until well after.

    In the end though, knowing who he is doesn't make the episode any more exciting!
     
  17. Deranged Nasat

    Deranged Nasat Vice Admiral Admiral

    An interesting point of comparison. :) I'm a Discworld fan, and to my shame the Sword of Kahless and the Gonne never met in my mind. Perhaps you are yet nerdier than I. Much to learn, I still have. :p

    Following on from my approval of the Karemma last episode, I also like the fact that the Letheans made a reappearance. However, they are somewhat cheapened here, since Kor just wakes up with a headache rather than a) dying or b) playing tennis with Garak on the promenade while aging rapidly. So while I'm pleased that an established race was once again brought in to help make the setting continuous and better-defined, it does seem to contradict how Lethean telepathy works. Unless interrogative telepathy is a different "move" from the full-on telepathic shock attack?
     
  18. DGCatAniSiri

    DGCatAniSiri Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I'm thinking it was more differing goals - the Lethean in Distant Voices wanted Bashir taken out of commission while he robbed the place and didn't care if he lived or died. Toral probably wanted the Lethean here to get the information Kor had so they could race on ahead, while keeping him intact enough to believe he'd passed out drunk and then go and get the Sword anyway, using Kor to disarm the booby traps surrounding such a prize. All the work done, the sword reclaimed, and he doesn't have to do more than kill a grumpy old man. Typical tactics for a member of the house of Duras.
     
  19. Deranged Nasat

    Deranged Nasat Vice Admiral Admiral

    ^ Good points. :) That all makes a great deal of sense, so I accept the conclusion that Lethean telepathic attacks can be tailored to different ends through conscious intent of the Lethean in question, and that it was indeed (as it appeared to be), the same form of attack. I prefer that to the idea that they're pulling new rabbits out of the same hat (which would undermine some of my pleasure at having the same hat brought back in the first place).

    It's still a bit uncomfortable for me though; I remembered Bashir telling us that Lethean attacks are usually fatal, and it was at least implied that he survived through unusual force of will. When I first saw the episode, I thought "Oh, Kor's dead!" when the Lethean struck, and was a little peeved when it seemed "Lethean attack" had been defanged. :)
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2012
  20. TheGodBen

    TheGodBen Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Our Man Bashir (***)

    I've never seen a James Bond movie. There's no point getting into why that is, it's just not a series that ever interested me and I never bothered to try it. While elements of James Bond seep into my consciousness through popular culture, much like irradiated water from a nuclear plant seeps into the ground-water, I still don't quite understand the series and thus I'm left feeling that I can't entirely appreciate this episode. I get some of the more obvious jokes, such as Mona Luvsitt's name or the villain explaining his entire plan before executing the hero, but there are probably more subtle jokes and references in the episode that I don't get. So the parody works well enough in a general sense, but this episode wasn't written for me and the rest of us James Bond virgins.

    The biggest problem with the episode is that it's yet another holodeck malfunction episode and yet this one manages to be even more complicated than most. Some Cardassian terrorist group that end up being completely unimportant decide to blow up a runabout that is conveniently carrying almost the entire command staff of DS9, an emergency transport goes wonky and their bodies end up in the holosuite. That's beyond ridiculous, it's like the show was trying to make up for its lack of a holodeck malfunction episodes so far by coming up with the most complicated one imaginable. It's a necessary evil to allow the main cast to have some fun playing alternate characters, but it's still there taking up screen-time with complicated technobabble throughout the episode. And for what, some false sense of drama? I suppose it gives Bashir and Garak an opportunity to squabble over what it means to be a real intelligence agent, but that's about it.

    Actually, putting Garak into the simulation was a clever choice, he gets to scoff at how absurd the whole experience is throughout, and I like that his sense of professional pride is wounded by Bashir trying to act like a spy. What's worse, the program actually rewards Bashir for being flashy and taking needless risks, something that Garak knows would get a real spy killed. I also the ending where Bashir destroys the world in order to buy time, using Garak's earlier monologue to good comic effect.

    I think I did that once while playing Just Cause 2...

    Runabouts Lost: 4

    So long USS Orinoco Flow.