TheGodBen Revisits Deep Space Nine

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

  1. flemm

    flemm Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Well, I think one can "explain" this from the same point of view that one can "explain" Odo being knocked out on occasion. ("Explain" in quotes because obviously what the changelings do is not very plausible.)

    But, based on what we see on DS9, what a changeling does has to be more than just altering physical form and appearance. Odo actually sees with his eyes, for example, in humanoid form, while in his natural state he must "see" with his whole body, in essence. So, that would be similar to comparing the link to humanoid sex.

    One good thing about the changelings are that they are an exception to the general rule of Trek forehead aliens. There are things about them that are actually alien. Unfortunately, the writers don't always do a good job of really exploiting that. Sometimes, though.

    Yeah, that whole experience suggests that a changeling can actually *become* humanoid. Though possibly this can only be accomplished with the aid of the link.
     
  2. Spock/Uhura Fan

    Spock/Uhura Fan Captain Captain

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    Yes, I'm glad they went outside of the box a little with the Changelings. But, forehead aliens are nice too. I love Klingons, save for the food. :barf: My attitude is if it's trying to run off of your plate, let it.

    This is probably true.
     
  3. TheGodBen

    TheGodBen Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    The first draft was more graphic, yes, and the saliva ended up in more places than Arissa's mouth.

    Oh dear. :( As someone that once had a best friend that was a Voyager fan, I speak from experience when I say that your friendship just wont last. End it now, don't let the pain drag on, it will hurt more in the long run.

    Oh yeah, I had completely forgotten that Odo had a penis there for a while. :lol: Perhaps part of the punishment was that the Founders gave him a really small one, it seems like something they'd do.


    Business as Usual (***)

    Being a pansy liberal from a small neutral country where guns are heavily regulated, I am, of course, an expert on the arms trade. Or not. Probably not, now that I come to think of it. As someone not in the know, I kinda imagine that the arms trade is a business like most others, where people wear suits and attend weekly department meetings where they discuss sales while staring at graphs. But in the future, the interstellar arms trade seems to work more like a camp mafia organisation. There's murder, sit-downs, business deals with sociopaths, and other such tropes. It's like watching The Sopranos, but with Tony as a flamboyant Englishman that buys Paulie jewellery as reward for a job well done.

    That's a problem for this episode, it's very one-sided in how it depicts the arms trade, they're moral-less schemers out to make a quick buck out of death and destruction. And that's kinda true, but things are a bit more complex than that. Sometimes, people need weapons to fight against oppression, and the episode actually addresses this point when it's revealed that Hagath sold weapons to the Bajorans while they were fighting the Cardassians. But that complexity goes away again almost as soon as it's brought up, and the show returns to the heartless Hagath and his sinister business. The best villains are the ones that think they're the good guy, even Tony Soprano didn't think of himself as a monster. But Hagath doesn't even attempt to rationalise his actions, he likes money and he can make a lot of it by selling weapons to dictators. Steven Berkoff has some fun with the role, but there's not much under the surface to make the character really interesting.

    If you ignore those issues and approach the episode as a character story for Quark, it's pretty good. He's brought to the brink, gets involved in a business he never wanted to be involved in, gets in over his head, and struggles to find a way out. It's not an original story, but it works, and Armin Shimerman does a good job with with it. It continues his arc as a character that's being "corrupted" by the insidious Federation, and it's always nice when Quark gets a meaty part rather than being dumped with the role of comic relief.
     
  4. Ln X

    Ln X Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Business as Usual deserves four stars because this is not so much a serious episode of sorts but like a dark humour satirical sort. This explains the one-dimensional characters, the awesomeness of Hagath and what not...
     
  5. Deranged Nasat

    Deranged Nasat Vice Admiral Admiral

    I think another point in the episode's favour is that it draws attention (deliberately or not) to the skewed perspective viewers have on the universe these shows are set in. With the exception of Quark, our viewpoint characters are in service to a powerful, sprawling organization that essentially has the power to define the situations and the people it encounters - both in-universe and in the eyes of viewers. In TNG, and in early DS9, we see plenty of smaller or weaker powers, planets-of-the-week, but those planets are presented to us in terms of their dealings with the Federation (of course they are, it couldn't be otherwise). All things considered, we see a rather orderly galaxy. For all that the planet-of-the-week has problems (or represents problems), the rich, powerful Federation is there to police the chaos. To respond, to mediate, to set a shiny example. And even when Picard or Sisko deal with major powers like Cardassians, Romulans and Klingons, we're still seeing a world in which the Federation defines the galaxy. Those other powers are presented in terms of relations with the UFP, treaties and stalemates and careful regulation of the balance of power. It's a rather neat galaxy, all things considered. But in this episode, we're basically given a glimpse into all the minor worlds who aren't part of the Federation, aren't able or willing to call it in to solve a dispute, aren't locked into treaties with it as rivals, aren't on the Federation's radar at all. Quark represents our only real chance to access the seedy underbelly of that neat galaxy, because Quark is our insight into the little guy; he's the one character who isn't affiliated with the uniform and the higher purpose. Even Kira and Odo - who represent the more rugged home militia of the struggling nation rather than the shiny army of the rich superpower - are involved with maintaining order rather than rummaging in the chaos.

    In this episode, we're introduced to minor conflicts that are apparently raging in the galaxy "right now", with no apparent mediation by the UFP or any attention at all from major powers. Nations like Palamar or the other worlds Hagath mentions have slipped through the cracks of the Trek universe. They're involved in horrific civil wars, conflicts with one another that seem devastating (at least on their more limited scale), desperate struggles that see millions of deaths...and in a universe as large as Trek's, it "doesn't matter". The Federation and other major players apparently haven't noticed, we only "notice" because we have the Quark character to dip his toes into that other galaxy - an other galaxy that no other main character could enter. It's quite a jolt, I think, to be given the impression that all the high-stakes politics we see elsewhere is obscuring all sorts of conflicts and sufferings that we ordinarily wouldn't get a glimpse at. Okay, that's an obvious truth if you think about it, but it's not about our logic, it's about what the show actually, well, shows us. This episode actually presents us, knowingly or not, with the hard fact that as Sisko and Gowron debate the Khitomer Accords, or as Winn and Legate Turrel sign a peace treaty, some world like Palamar is being made a wasteland and no-one notices...save the arms dealers making a profit from it.

    Episodes like this are interesting in that they show us glimpses of the Trek universe we don't often see - because all our other viewpoint characters are representing their government, we only see those worlds that come to those governments' attention.

    Gaila's speech about the stars, and whether it really matters if Quark helps him put out one of those stars, takes on another layer of meaning for me. If Palamar is made a wasteland...does it matter?, and I don't mean does it matter in-universe, or to Quark, but does it matter to me, when that world is in a Trek galaxy I don't often see? The fate of Cardassia matters because the show is, in part, about Cardassia. The fate of Palamar doesn't matter...only here, for this one episode, it does, because Quark has entered its story and so made its story relevant to us. (Yes, I'm aware Palamar doesn't really exist ;) - I hope what I'm saying makes sense of a sort; I'm talking about how the episode insists we suddenly look at, and find meaning in, an implied chunk of the fictional universe in which the shows are set that ordinarily is of no relevance). In a sense, this episode is daring (and I think it maybe doesn't realize just how daring it is, seeing as I think it arrived at its destination in ignorance, just by following the Quark character).
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2012
  6. datalogan

    datalogan Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I liked the use of holographic technology in "Business as Usual" to sell illegal (or at least questionable) things in an open forum. It just makes sense that the technology would be used in that way. Plus, it's safer. Even if you're not selling dangerous things, it's nice to know the customers can't steal your stuff from your shop (holosuite).

    I felt that the Starfleet characters (like Dax) were too quick to judge Quark just because he was an arms dealer. She does realize Starfleet makes and buys (and maybe sells) weapons too, right?

    One more random observation: I guess it's just luck of the draw (or whim of the writers) as to which family members get developed more on Star Trek. Gaila's been mentioned a couple of times, a gift from him was a significant plot device in "Little Green Men", now he's featured in an episode, and he'll probably be revisited again. Yet Jadzia's mother and sister were only mentioned once and never seen, Sisko's brothers only mentioned once and never seen, Geordi's sister only mentioned once and never seen. This is just a small complaint, but I wish we had seen little glimpses of family members visiting from time to time. Or at least mention the visit in passing, like when they twice mentioned that O'Brien's father had visited. It just adds a sense of reality to the show.
     
  7. commanderkai

    commanderkai Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    I didn't mind the episode too much. There is a difference between a legitimate arms dealer, and a black market arms dealer. The people Quark was dealing with were quite illegitimate, although they're not stupid at all. I do agree that a discussion about said arms dealer supplying the Bajorans would have been more interesting, and the whole biological WMD could have been a little less anvilicious.
     
  8. R. Star

    R. Star Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I enjoyed the episode. Sure Hagath was somewhat two dimentional, but who cares? The episode wasn't about him at all. It was about Quark. He was quite clearly on the path to getting everything he wanted, and Gaila was all to happy to give it to him, but it had a price. One that even Quark found himself unwilling to pay. Just proves that sure he's a greedy bastard, but he has a heart of gold under it all if you dig deep enough.
     
  9. Deranged Nasat

    Deranged Nasat Vice Admiral Admiral

    There's something amusingly significant in phrasing it this way, concerning the show's inconsistant approach to the value of gold. Is it just as precious as latinum or is it now "worthless"? ;)
     
  10. R. Star

    R. Star Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    It depends on what episode in question we're refering to? ;)
     
  11. BennyRussel

    BennyRussel Commander Red Shirt

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    It also happens to be a re-working of the classic "Ferris Wheel Speech" from The Third Man

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8i47-QBL4Qo
     
  12. TheGodBen

    TheGodBen Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I must have seen that scene a hundred times. Not because I wanted to, but because my English teacher chose that scene as part of our comparative writing essay for my class's Leaving Cert exam. He'd never show the whole movie, just that scene over and over and over and over again, all the while enthusing about its brilliance. I think I had to compare it with the scene from Othello where Iago convinces Othello that Desdemona is having an affair, and the scene from Remains of the Day where Miss Kenton thinks Stevens is reading a racy book. I can't remember why we were comparing those scenes, I think my teacher just liked them and came up with some BS tying them together. :shrug:


    Ties of Blood and Water (****½)

    I'll never forget the day my father died. It was just a normal Saturday, he was relaxing when the TV stopped working, he went to fix it, and he was struck by a sudden electric shock that stopped his heart. He died right in front of my eyes. So I quit the household and reloaded from earlier that morning. I should probably have mentioned that this happened in The Sims and that my real father is still alive and well. Sorry if I confused anyone. :shifty:

    This episode has a lot going for it; emotion, politics, death, poison, flashbacks, smugness, and continuity. At it's core is a well-told story about Kira's fear of facing the death of those she cares about, and particularly the wound of her father's death and how she ran away so as not to face it. It's a great story with great acting and great characters. Kira's backstory has provided a wealth of meaty material for the show, and it does it once again here. My one problem with it is that Kira explains her emotional journey at the end of the episode, which felt unnecessary, but Nana Visitor gave it her all and just about manages to sell the scene regardless.

    Meanwhile the show returns to Cardassian politics after its absence following the Dominion coup. We get to see Dukat in his new role, which is both fun and frightening. It's a bit weird that Dukat doesn't visit Ziyal, at least not on screen, but I suppose such a scene might have just been a distraction from the rest of the story. This episode also contains the reintroduction of Weyoun, which has to have been one of the best decisions DS9 ever made. It may seem a bit weird to reinterpret an entire species just to bring back an actor, but Weyoun is such a wonderful character that it's forgiveable, and his resurrection was worth it just for the poison scene alone.
     
  13. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I haven't lost my parents or grandparents yet...but this was the episode that holds the record for biggest tearjerker for me, of ANY DS9 episode, or any Trek incarnation, at all.

    I felt like what really made the episode was the interaction between Nana Visitor and Lawrence Pressman. From what I've read on M-A about Pressman's background, it could be that he drew on emotions from his own life for his performance here, and it really shows.
     
  14. Ln X

    Ln X Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Not sure why this episode scored so highly. The interactions between Ghemor and Kira felt clunky at best, I did like the flashbacks into Kira's past and the whole backstory about the death of her father. But plotwise this episode was all over the place. The problem is the interactions between Ghemor and Kira, they seem to really know each other when they have only met face to face almost three years ago for a short period of time. They just seem to be too familiar and it doesn't gel with me, and it smacks of laziness on the writers part not explaining this away.

    Some of the dialogue and interactions feels forced, and if anything Dukat and co save this episode from becoming average or worse. The interactions between Kira and Dukat were great (some real fire and passion there), Dukat and Ghemor were great together, Kira and Bashir in that final scene really worked (it is one of those rare occasions where you see Kira cry about something) but for some reason Kira and Ghemor together did not. I just feel this episode assumed and extrapolated too much regarding those two.

    But at least Kira is out of that smock-like uniform... :drool:

    And great to see Weyoun back, the drink scene had to be the highlight of the whole episode. :beer:
     
  15. datalogan

    datalogan Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I agree that the relationship between Ghemor and Kira in "Ties of Blood and Water" is stronger relationship than seen at the end of "Second Skin", but it has been a while. Maybe they stayed in touch and developed the relationship more since last time we saw them together. "Off-screen" solution to inconsistency.

    I find the Cardassian politics interesting. Ghemor was a big part of the Cardassian dissident movement. So when the dissident movement took over Cardassia in the form of the Detapa Council in early season 4, certainly Ghemor was a high-level person in the government. The same government Dukat sided with in "Way of the Warrior". And the same government Dukat overthrew in "By Inferno's Light". You can see how these men have an interesting history. And I do love seeing Dukat (and Weyoun!!) on screen.

    Plus we see the old Cardassian custom of revealing all your secrets about your enemies to your family when you near death (Shri-tal). Last seen when Tain talked to his son Garak right before dying in "In Purgatory's Shadow".

    While I do feel that the parellels between Ghemor's death and Kira's father were a bit forced, I did like seeing the flash-backs into Kira's life. And it was nice to see Furel again, even though he died in "The Darkness and the Light".

    By the way, according to the book "Fearful Symmetry", Dukat did know where Ghemor's daughter was at this time. But he never would have revealed her to Ghemor because he had been treating her so badly.
     
  16. Thor Damar

    Thor Damar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    ^ To say the least.:wtf:

    The Shri-tal is a brilliant invention since it is such a natural custom for such a paranoid and family orientated race, it allows one to undermine your enemies without suffering the consequences by dint of being dead and could also be used to pass on intelligence to others (as Legate Ghemor adroitly did during this episode). Of course I'm sure that many Cardassians just used the Shri-tal to pass on harmless thoughts and feelings to their families and to express their love to them because...

    Yeah, like that would ever happen. :shifty:

    There is a lot to love about this episode, from Dukat and his Gold Band of Absolute Power! to Weyoun Five and his charming manner and ability to down a drink in mere seconds (what a diplomat eh?) but the heart of it is the relationship between the former Legate of the Central Command and the ex-resistance fighter from Bajor, the acting really brought it home.
     
  17. R. Star

    R. Star Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    You kind of saw a version of the Shri-tal between Tain and Garak, though Tain was just basically giving Garak a hit list on his death bed. :p

    As for Fearful Symmetry.... that one took me by surprise as the most twisted and.... well evil... demonstration of Dukat's behavior...

    My biggest regret of this episode is that this is all we saw of Ghemor. It would have been nice to have seen him as the voice of the civillian government in season 4 and 5. He was such a wonderful and likable character.
     
  18. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

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    He was indeed. And that was what made Ghemor's loss so painful.

    BTW, I think you now see where I get my name from... ;)
     
  19. Thor Damar

    Thor Damar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Mind you if the GOL (Grand Old Legate) had been in change of the reformed Cardassian Union then the dynamics of the next few years would have been very different indeed.
     
  20. R. Star

    R. Star Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Not really, it was firmly established that Ghemor's movement was working to overthrow the Central Command and the military government in Season 2.

    In Season 4, that overthrow firmly happened. Dukat threw in with the civillian government and flat out told Sisko he just switched sides because he was picking the winner and where he'd have the most power. Ghemor was in exile before this and it stands to reason he returned to Cardassia and served at least in some capacity in the new civillian regime. It's quite possible he could have even been on the Defiant/DS9 during the Klingon attack being they rescued the Detapa Council.

    In late season 5, Dukat and the Dominion overthrow the civillian government and Ghemor was later shown to be in exile again(probably self imposed as he would have been against the Dominion without a doubt) and later showed up on DS9 in the aforementioned episode.

    So that's a good year and a half he could have been in the thick of things with at least one solid oppurtunity for a guest appearance in Way of the Warrior. It's just a shame it never happened.
     

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