TheGodBen Revisits Deep Space Nine

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

  1. R. Star

    R. Star Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Really twists like this are what makes Dukat the best villain in Trek. He's multi-layered for sure and doesn't fit the cookie cutter villain of the week cliche by any means. If you asked him, he's the hero of his own story. He's the guy who just honestly doesn't get why people don't want to be ruled by his benevolent hand. When he was working with the good guys in seasons 4-5, it wasn't out of a path to redemption more than it was just in his self-interest. So when he sees an oppurtunity to grab power again, and destroy his enemies, it's only natural he grabs at it. This will have lasting consequences the rest of the series.

    The UBC(I like the acronym) was certainly a shock, but in the end poorly used. DS9 certainly did have the same flaw as many week to week shows that the plot often doesn't have an overall direction regarding specifics like this. But the show is willing to take chances, rock the boat and not willing to settle for the status quo. So I'm usually more forgiving towards DS9's plot holes than I am say Voyager's.

    The system destroying bomb, I dunno... I think it was made of the same stuff that the terrorist in that season 1 episode used to try and blow up the wormhole. It was implied the stuff was rare and hard to get. So I'd hope that's just the case. It was a climatic moment when you're expecting the Cardassian and Jem'Hadar fleets to arrive only to have the whole thing be a trap though.

    The escape... was very convienent. Bashir will even get called on this in a future episode when his loyalty is in question. I dunno, I would have found it more convincing if they snuck out through the walls and stole a Jem'Hadar ship in a firefight or something than the comm relay transport to our runabout which is still very convienently in orbit thing. It still would have had holes either way, and there was no one else to rescue them. But as I said, DS9 tries and isn't afraid to shake things up, so you can forgive plot holes now and again.

    It was a good episode and a promise of things to come with Dukat's poorly veiled threat at the end. I did like how it was even "You foiled my plot... but I'll get you next time Gadge-- I mean Sisko! Next time!" Now only if they just had a Cardassian cat for Dukat to be maliciously petting when he said that. :P
     
  2. datalogan

    datalogan Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Dukat ends up right where he should be at the end of "By Inferno's Light": in the top echelon of a horrible group of bad-guys. Just where I love to have him -- so I can hate him for good reason. (I didn't like the middle seasons as much, when Dukat was more of a "good guy".) I wonder what the average Cardassian thinks of it all -- joining the Dominion and Dukat being in charge versus the old civilian Detapa Council that Dukat use to work for?

    Wonderful that the relationship between Worf and the real Martok starts out on a better footing than between Worf and the changeling Martok back in "Way of the Warrior". Here they really hit it off. Sometimes almost too much. Like it seems that Martok is almost gushing to be in Worf's presence. But probably that was just him playing it up to build up Worf's confidence. And Martok will be around on the station now. Yet another great DS9 secondary character.

    I love the scenes dealing with Garak's claustrophobia. (Big shock, right, liking Garak scenes.) Not only was it a great moment for Garak's good qualities like determination and self-sacrifice to shine, it also allowed us a chance to see that Garak really can't shut up, even when he's only got a light and himself to talk to.

    Loved seeing the Romulans show up to help. Maybe it's the beginning of a real partnership, "the enemy of my enemy" and all that. (And I'll try not to read too much into the fact that the Klingons and Federation are now back together only because the Dominion and Cardassians have joined forces.)

    As TheGodBen mentions, I love how there was a hugh Dominion fleet poised to attack DS9 in this episode -- twice -- and yet no attack happens. After all this build-up, the story suddenly goes off in a different path. You're expecting to see some great battle footage, but then the story gets resolved some other way. I loved that aspect of the writing on DS9 -- always challenging our expectations as viewers.

    But it also says something about the Dominion in-universe. They probably could have battled those 2 times, and probably done very well. But they chose to do things differently: gain allies (in the Cardassians); try to use subterfuge and undercover operatives to gain a military advantage versus direct confrontation. It really let's you know that the Dominion is cunning -- and they are in this for the long game, they're willing to wait until their hand is strong.
     
  3. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

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    One of the things I remember about this two parter, is when the Romulan's show up to stand with the UFP and Klingon Empire.
     
  4. R. Star

    R. Star Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Which is really out of character for the Romulans when you stop and think about that for a moment.
     
  5. SilentP

    SilentP Commodore Commodore

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    Well we know the Romulans aren't above making an alliance with the Klingons, even if it was about a century ago. They've also been the most aggressive in ways towards the Dominion.

    For example:

    -Striking against the Founder home world (even if it was initiated/controlled by an imposter)

    -Equipping the Federation (of all factions) with a cloaking device upon one of their most powerful ships (the Defiant) to spy on them, though one could argue that they'd rather let the Federation do the leg work here.

    -They plotted to destroy the wormhole once (in 'Visionary'), risking the ire of the Federation to ensure that the Dominion couldn't reach the Alpha and Beta Quadrants.

    If anything, it seems to make sense that the Romulans were acting in character, despite their usual antagonistic stance towards the Federation.
     
  6. Sindatur

    Sindatur Vice Admiral Admiral

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    In addition to the fact, that they made it clear when they showed up, they weren't there as Federation Allies, but, ratehr they were there for their own benefit, to stop the threat before it could come to their front door step
     
  7. Satyrquaze

    Satyrquaze Vice Admiral Admiral

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    ^"Better to deal with the devil you know..."
     
  8. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

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    True, which is why it stands out because it is so unexpected.
     
  9. InklingStar

    InklingStar Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    When it seemed like an invasion was imminent, the Romulans were willing to join the fight to keep the Dominion on the other side of the galaxy.

    when the Dominion has been established as part of the AQ political situation, they sign the nonaggression pact and bide their time.

    Both are totally in character I think.
     
  10. R. Star

    R. Star Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    The Romulans almost always manipulate things from behind the scenes only directly involving themselves as a last resort.

    The Dominion, who they acknowledge as a threat and the Federation, their cold warriors, fighting each other should if anything make them pleased. Both sides would be weakening each other and they stand in place to be able to pick up the pieces from such a destructive conflict.
     
  11. Pavonis

    Pavonis Commodore Commodore

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    I'm sure the Romulans want everyone to think that they always manipulate things from behind the scenes. It's much easier than actually having to manipulate things from behind the scenes. Making the enemy paranoid is probably just SOP for the Romulans.

    Anyway, the Romulans would have to recognize that after the destruction of the Klingons and the Federation (and the assimilation of the Cardassians into the Dominion) that they'd be next on the Dominion's hit list, and that they'd have no back-up afterwards. Besides, as allies of the Federation, they have a chance to recruit and place agents and observe Starfleet tactics for the post-war hostilities.
     
  12. Seven of Five

    Seven of Five Commodore Commodore

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    I love this two parter. I loved that it followed up Garak and Tain's storyline, but the way it pulled the rug out from everyone by putting the Cardassians in bed with the Dominion was inspired. Nothing's the same anymore.
     
  13. flemm

    flemm Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I basically agree.

    The core idea is good, and I like the dynamic between Sisko and Eddington.

    But... As is occasionally the case on DS9, you can feel that the writers want to go to a dark place with the characters but aren't always really ready to do it. Or they want to do it, but then feel the need to immediately undo it.

    I still enjoy the episode for the core material, but it has some really obvious problems, especially the end.
     
  14. Paper Moon

    Paper Moon Commander Red Shirt

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    Re the Romulans: if I recall correctly, Admiral Hansen said that they were considering opening talks with the Romulans during BOBW, which is sorta indirect precedence for their appearance here.

    As for the runabout: I agree it's a plothole. You can try to rectify it by arguing that it shows the Dominion's arrogance, but I'm sure not I buy that. (And I doubt it was the writers' intention.)

    On the other hand, though, you could argue that the runabout is one of various hints dropped throughout the series that the Dominion is decaying.

    Off the top of my head:
    -they didn't know about the wormhole, and weren't expecting the Federation to show up for centuries (nor were they expecting Odo to show up)
    -multiple instances of rogue Jem'Hadar
    -the fact that they didn't think to strip the asteroid's facilities of its electronics, thereby allowing prisoners to send out messages not once, but twice.
    -the total mission failure of the crashing Jem'Hadar ship in "The Ship"; seriously, a vessel carrying a changeling suffers mechanical failure and crashes? Far from Dominion space, no less.
    -Eris's lock. You couldn't have put something fancy-looking inside that takes Quark longer to figure out than the time it took to get back to the station?
    -Weyoun 6

    I doubt it was intentional, but if you choose to read into it, it begins to look like the Dominion is not what it once was, despite its illusions to the contrary.
     
  15. TheGodBen

    TheGodBen Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Doctor Bashir, I Presume (**½)

    The writers sure have had a thing for shocking revelations recently, haven't they? All in all, this one is probably the most controversial, it completely changes the way we view a major character we thought we knew for four and a half seasons, and it requires a selective interpretation of earlier episodes in order to work. Some like the revelation, some dislike it, some hate it.

    Personally, I like it, but I don't like the way it wasn't planned out in advance, and reading the background information makes me dislike the way the writers handled the situation with Siddig. Actors can get deeply involved with their roles sometimes, throwing in a game-changer like this for the character of Bashir without even consulting the actor seems like a douchey thing to do. But overall, I think that it was a net positive thing for the character, and gave him some interesting material in this episode as well as future ones. Genetic engineering is an interesting subject that Star Trek rarely touches upon, making a main character a genetically engineered individual allows the show to explore some of those subjects in greater detail. But with all that being said, it's far too late in the series to just randomly throw such a huge revelation onto an established character. It doesn't pass the smell test, it's something I have to force myself to accept because I like the concept, it doesn't come across naturally.

    As an episode, it's quite enjoyable. There's a lot of good banter in this one, and Robert Picardo lending his talents to DS9 for an episode is very welcome. And it was nice to see Dr Kenneth H Shmully again, even if it wasn't the real K-Shmull. The Rom/Leeta stuff got a bit annoying (Just ask him out, already!) But Robert Picardo helped out there too. In fact, Robert Picardo should have just jumped ship and joined the DS9 cast, that would have been ideal.

    Sykonee's Counter: 34
     
  16. flemm

    flemm Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I've never been a huge fan of how this retcon of Bashir's character was handled. From a certain point of view, it can really be seen as character assassination (because it basically reveals he has been a fraud all along). Then there's also the fact that they tried to turn him into DS9's Data/Spock, which worked so poorly that they then basically dropped it.

    While it produces a couple of decent moments later on, I think Section 31 really worked better as a way of making the good Doctor more interesting.

    It's true that genetic engineering is a good topic to address. But... for the most part I don't think this ever really produced anything that made the retcon worthwhile. Maybe Statistical Probabilities, I guess.
     
  17. InklingStar

    InklingStar Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I think the genetic engineering reveal actually ties up a couple of strings of Bashir's character. He missed a simple question on his final exam and lost out on being valedictorian. He could have been a tennis pro but never made it. To me, it makes those earlier episodes even more interesting after learning his secret.
     
  18. flemm

    flemm Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Well, I'm going from memory here, but... doesn't the genetic engineering change the motivations for all of that? He's really smarter than everybody, has better hand/eye coordination, etc., but is trying to "blend in"?
     
  19. Paper Moon

    Paper Moon Commander Red Shirt

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    DS9 is full of things that weren't planned out in advance, but end up working pretty well when you look at them in hindsight. One of Trakor's prophecies, for example, way back in "Destiny," was about the Emissary facing a fiery trial. Fire caves, anyone?

    Bashir's genetic alterations aren't that different. Sure, they put his previous actions in a different light. So what? As you get to know someone in real life, their previous actions may make more sense as you learn more about them.

    And Bashir's not the only one to receive this treatment. Eddington's behavior in "For The Cause" puts his conversation with Sisko in "The Adversary" (the one about command versus security) in a different light, should you choose to interpret it that way.

    As for Bashir being salutatorian, deciding not to pursue tennis, hell, even his decision to leave Earth and that cushy surgery job in Paris, I tend to think that those weren't so much conscious attempts to blend in as they were the unconscious results of a psychology that's been forced to lie for an entire lifetime. When you must keep something a total secret, you don't keep it in the forefront of your thoughts. Bashir didn't spend 25 years of his life saying, "I can't do that because it'll make my genetic enhancements obvious," he spent 25 years of his life saying, "I can't do that," out of habit.

    In some ways, his genetic status helps explain some of the early flaws in Bashir's character. For one thing, as young as he is, he is still much less mature than you would expect. Stuff like that sometimes (not always, of course, but sometimes) is the result of childhood/adolescent trauma that knocks your development off-kilter. Bashir's got a few episodes in his past that could qualify: undergoing a major medical procedure that he didn't understand at age 6, finding out ten years later that his parents had made his entire life a lie... you could even argue that his early childhood deficits were traumatic, though I wouldn't personally make that argument, since it doesn't seem (from the episode) that Bashir felt particularly traumatized by this phase of his life.

    Also, his boyish enthusiasm could, in fact, have been a cultivated "safety net"; if he slipped up and did something truly extraordinary, it could be chalked up to all that enthusiasm. It wouldn't surprise me if something like that had happened somewhere in Bashir's past, and he discovered by accident that he could extricate himself from the situation by being so darn enthusiastic.

    Bashir's lack of relationship with his family is hinted at in "Homefront," when he tells Odo that there's no one on Earth for him.

    Bashir's penchant for spy games could be a convoluted way for him to deal, psychologically, with having to hold such a big secret (and maybe a few other related ones).

    Even Bashir's "Not quite. Close." story to O'Brien in "Armageddon Game" has a bit of a Garak quality to it, as if the truth is indeed in there, but is being... simplified, for our benefit. I wouldn't be surprised if Bashir turned down the cushy surgery position because he knew it would catapult him too high too quickly, and give reason for scrutiny.

    Indeed, Bashir has had to live almost his entire life with a little voice in the back of his mind saying, "Don't be perfect. Don't be perfect." His early social flubs with Kira and O'Brien (and Dax, too) spring to mind.

    Honestly, without some sort of revelation, I think Bashir would've ended up being the least developed and least interesting character in DS9. "Doctor Bashir, I Presume?" suddenly makes a whole lot of would-be missed opportunities in early episodes more interesting.

    I'm not sure the Section 31 storyline could have happened without "DB,IP?"; 31 needed a reason to be interested in him beyond his love of spy games. Making him enhanced tosses in the whole question of playing god (which Bashir does as a doctor already, see "Life Support"), and weaves in some discussion of elitism/eugenics, which 31 try to use to manipulate him.

    Also, I'm not sure I really see that Data/Spock parallel; DS9 had Odo (and to a lesser extent, Quark, Worf and even Garak) to do that. If anything, Bashir became a humanized version of Data/Spock, removing the observer status. But even that parallel is superficial at best, imo.
     
  20. flemm

    flemm Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Well, I think that was partly what motivated the change, yeah. I think also he tended to register as the least popular regular character at the time.

    I can also see why Siddig really didn't like it, though, especially the early attempts to duplicate Data-like computations. This is what I meant by it being an attempt to turn him into DS9's Data: early in the next season there are a couple of scenes like this, where he makes calculations faster than the ship's computer. You can almost see the distaste in Siddig's performance. Then they dropped it, basically.

    Anyway, I'm not saying you should agree it was a bad idea, or that it was not a valid choice in some abstract way. I just never really liked it, and didn't think it was worth it.

    I think Section 31 would have worked anyway, as the main story there was the combination of his interest in being a spy and his idealism being put to the test. Certainly Section 31 must have a lot of operatives that are not genetically engineered or similar.
     

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