TheGodBen Revisits Deep Space Nine

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

  1. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Well, while we all know Sisko's going to take actions to cause the war to start, I think we can also agree that it would have been a very bad thing if the war had started now rather than when it did. Starfleet was probably desperately building up its forces for as long as possible prior to the outbreak of open hostilities. Who knows how much difference even a single day made at that point.
     
  2. TheGodBen

    TheGodBen Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Also, they didn't have a minefield in place at the wormhole yet. That, and the Prophets preventing Dominion ships traversing the wormhole, is the only thing that prevented the Dominion from destroying the AQ powers.


    Empok Nor (***)

    O'Brien, Nog, Garak, and four walking corpses go on a trip to a spooky abandoned space station. Who will survive? The answer may just surprise you (but almost certainly wont). This has to be the worst case of redshirting that DS9 has ever pulled, literally every one of the new characters dies and all three established characters survive. This is TOS The Apple territory right here, although I suppose this episode shows some social progress because the female redshirt was allowed to die this time.

    The episode is okay, I guess, but the story is a bit of a mess. O'Brien and co need to go to Empok Nor to get vital parts to repair DS9, but when they get to Empok Nor they get attacked by some crazed Cardassians and forget all about the parts they need. Then Garak goes a little crazy because he got some Head and Shoulders on his hand. (Why would such a dangerous compound to Cardassians be left on a hand-rail on a Cardassian space station?) He kills the Cardassians and an innocent human, then he goes all psycho and tries to play mind games with O'Brien, refusing to kill Nog for some reason, and hanging the corpses of O'Brien's men on the promenade. Then O'Brien blows Garak up sufficiently good and they're magically back on DS9. Yeah, the episode goes a little crazy towards the end there and doesn't utilise Garak's strengths as a character.

    As a torture O'Brien episode, it's okay. The station has a nice creepy atmosphere, there's some good cinematography and lighting at work. There's nothing that will really make you jump or keep you on the edge of your seat, but the episode is reasonably entertaining and interesting to look at.

    Runabouts Lost: 7
     
  3. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I actually began putting in something about the minefield but then retracted it...given how quickly Rom conceived of the minefield and it was subsequently implemented, I felt it was possible that even if the war had started earlier the minefield might still have been put in place in a timely manner.
     
  4. Skywalker

    Skywalker Admiral Admiral

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    I like how they establish Empok Nor as being different from Deep Space Nine...by tilting it at an angle. Because space is two-dimensional and everyone approaching it will always see it at that angle. :p
     
  5. R. Star

    R. Star Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I dunno, Empok Nor struck me more as a serial killer/horror movie spoof of an episode more than your traditional O'brien Must Suffer episode. O'brien really didn't suffer that much. The random goldshirts and Nog were the ones who got it really. It was a fun change of pace, if not particularly inspired.

    As for the angle? Yeah that was funny... I wish they'd just randomly change the angle more often to reflect it. I'd love to see the Enterprise flying by upside down or something just once. :p
     
  6. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Regardless of the reality of the situation, it does convey a different atmosphere when things you expect to see at a certain angle are shown at an unexpected one.

    I love the part in "Genesis" where Picard and Data are watching the Enterprise drifting through space.
     
  7. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

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    The Enterprise flew by upside down dozen's of times, it's just that our orientation to it was upside down as well. :p
     
  8. TheGodBen

    TheGodBen Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    One thing I did like about Enterprise was that they were a bit more imaginative with the angles on the spaceship shots. I suppose the move to entirely using CG models freed up the VFX artists in that regard.


    In the Cards (****½)

    The galaxy finds itself hurtling towards a cliff: the greatest war civilization has ever known seems to be just weeks away, the crew is demoralised and crime is on the rise. Time for a screwball comedy about a baseball card and a magic chamber that entertains your cells. It shouldn't work, it doesn't seem like an episode like this belongs at this point in DS9's main arc, on the surface it is out of place. But that's the very reason why this episode works so well for me, this episode is more than just the sum of its parts, it's a gentle prologue to a much larger and more serious tale. These characters are about to experience two years or war, morally questionable decisions, and loss. This is their last hurrah before all that messiness, this is that final breath of air you take before diving down under the water. Yes, there's plenty of fluff to come in the next two seasons, but even still it is going to be a long time before these characters can relax.

    Unlike so many DS9 comedies, In the Cards doesn't go for a high concept story, it's a simple tale about two friends working with a crazy person in order to obtain a baseball card. There's no time travel, there's no sex changes, the fate of civilisation as we know it isn't at stake, it's a fairly standard comic plot that relies on the characters and their interactions to make it work. It's not the funniest episode of Trek, but it's enjoyable and left with a smile on my face. I love these characters above all else on the show, and this episode uses its cast well. This is a community of people that have grown very fond of one another, it's good to be reminded of that before they get torn apart for an extended period.
     
  9. Ln X

    Ln X Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Watch some of GeneralGrin's videos!
     
  10. TheGodBen

    TheGodBen Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Call to Arms (*****)

    I've been reluctant to give a 5 star score to the major arc episodes thus far, Improbable Cause is the only one to manage it and that one was really only the set-up and not an arc-heavy story. But Call to Arms is an incredible episode and I feel it deserves a full score. This is more than just a single episode, it's more than just a season finale, this is five years of plot threads and character arcs and relationships being thrust together then thrown apart in all sorts of interesting directions. The episode also gives the sense that the show has come full-circle in a lot of ways, with the show beginning with the station in disrepair after the Cardassian withdrawal, now the station is in disrepair following the Federation withdrawal. Sisko starts the show not wanting to be on the station at all, now he's forced to leave yet determined to return to "this place where I belong."

    The episode is ambitious beyond anything Trek has done before. Not only does this episode plunge the Federation into an interstellar war that wont be wrapped up in an episode or two, it turns the entire series on its head by kicking most of the cast off the space station and leaving it in the hands of their enemies. Voyager did something similar the year before with Basics, but this time we know that there's not going to be a quick fix to this predicament and the episode actually has some emotion to all the various goodbyes. And for at least one of those goodbyes, Garak and Ziyal's, we know with hindsight that this is the last time they'll see each other.

    I must reiterate that 5 stars doesn't mean the episode is perfect, I could criticise the episode for how the Dominion just sat back and allowed the Federation to evacuate the station for no discernible reason, or how the self-replicating mines break the law of conservation of energy. But in this case the episode does so much right, and is so filled with ambition, that the minor flaws don't detract from my enjoyment of the episode. This episode is, in my opinion, one of DS9's finest hours, and the best season finale in all of Star Trek.
     
  11. Seven of Five

    Seven of Five Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Yeah, Call to Arms is one of those where the good just so far outweighs the bad. An abosolute classic episode. I missed the episode the first time round and just went straight into season 6, which kinda took the shine off things for me a little. Subsequent rewatches have put everything right though. :eek:

    The sense of dark forboding is very strong; nothing will be the same. It's just all so much better than the majority of Star Trek cliffhangers.
     
  12. Deranged Nasat

    Deranged Nasat Vice Admiral Admiral

    I agree as well; A Call to Arms is one of those cases in which you shrug off the problems because the episode as a whole is just so rewarding.

    I also agree that this is the best cliff-hanger episode. Most of Trek's cliff-hangers - meaning the dilemma itself - are quite good; the problem is the structure of the two-piece episode. The first half will set up a problem and then the second half resolves it, which often makes for a weaker second half, because said half has to chart a journey from "event that has the potential to change everything" back into "status quo", and it just becomes an exercise in undoing everything exciting about the first half. Here, though, the cliff-hanger leads into a new status quo, because DS9 has finally built up enough plot threads and character arcs that the show had to go places rather than seek the shortest route back to the familiar and comfortable.

    I suppose that's why I disagree with the idea that DS9 is the show about "boldly going nowhere" :)
     
  13. Ln X

    Ln X Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Here, here! Truly an episode where no episode has gone before!
     
  14. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

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    And a great closing scene of the combined Federation-Klingon task force, the first time we had seen that many ships in Star Trek.
     
  15. flemm

    flemm Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I love Call to Arms. I think it's pretty rare that a show like this can do something that is genuinely exciting, and remains so even years later, when I rewatch the episode. Also, even though it's a defeat for the Federation, it feels like a triumph because there are so many awesome little moments, like Kira sabotaging the station and Martok de-cloaking to protect the Defiant.

    I love the scene where Dukat discovers that Sisko left the baseball behind. And then the final shot of the Federation fleet, of course. Great stuff.

    Considered purely as a single episode, it's actually a bit uneven. But... as the culmination of several seasons worth of build-up, it's awesome. I think this episode and the occupation arc at the beginning of season 6 together make up my favorite stretch of Star Trek episodes.
     
  16. Sykonee

    Sykonee Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I know I say this after Call To Arms in nearly every Watch Thread, but now you should properly experience the wait for S6, hold off on watching A Time To Stand for 3 months like we all had to first run.

    Oh wait, you already have long abscenses these days. Never mind.:p
     
  17. Seven of Five

    Seven of Five Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    :lol:

    Back in the day three months would be some sort of Chinese torture. These days I've lost several months with the birth of my nephew, starting a new full-time job, and moving to a new place with my partner. If I can even remember I was watching something three months ago these days it's a miracle. Bloody grown-up life, I tells ya.

    I was just remembering the scene where Kira blows up the station. Such a wonderful moment, as it was great paybaclk to the Cardassians being as they left it in a similar state for Starfleet. And of course, Kira coldly welcoming her new overlords was a chilling moment.
     
  18. Bamarren

    Bamarren Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    Things like the baseball being left behind were great wee scenes that just helped make the whole thing seem big, yet very personal to all the cast we got to know over the time.

    Its up there with the best of the best of Star Trek, its a classic that just makes you scream out for more, loved every second of it.

    From watching through again recently, its the beginning of some great ST TV, the final 3 seasons of DS9 were brilliant, and had me glued to it the whole way.
     
  19. TheGodBen

    TheGodBen Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    You're lucky I don't take another year-long gap like I did with Crusade. ;)


    Season 5 Review

    I know you've been waiting on these graphs, so here's your reward for being patient:

    [​IMG]

    The average score for this season is 6.808, yet another record-breaking score for a season of Star Trek, but it still doesn't beat the score I gave for season 4 of Babylon 5. The reason why is plain to see, two stalactites of suckiness that are Let He Who Is Without Sin... and Ferengi Love Songs. Without those episodes this would have been the highest average score I ever gave to any season, Ira Behr's love of comedy episodes seems to have scuppered DS9's last, best hope for beating Babylon 5's record. (On the plus side, DS9's overall average is now 6.221, which puts it ahead of Babylon 5's overall average for the first time.)

    The trendline is pretty level, so this was a very consistent season.

    [​IMG]

    As you can see from this graph, the two aforementioned bad episodes were anomalies in an otherwise excellent season. Almost all the episodes were rated above average, with a record six episodes given a rating as series classics, and this is only the second season where I rated two episodes with a score of 10 (the other being Enterprise's third season).

    I rated two episodes this season below average, two were average, and twenty-two were above average.
    Best episode: Call to Arms
    Worst episode: Let He Who Is Without Sin...


    The Writers

    There's two new writers this season, Bradley Thompson and David Weddle, but all their teleplay credits are together so they'll be rated as one. I'm very interested to see how they'll do in the rankings because they went on to work on Battlestar Galactica and wrote many great episodes of that show.

    [​IMG]

    Ron Moore returns to the top-spot this season with an incredible score of 7.833, but Rene Echevarria isn't far behind on 7.8. That's a really strong showing for those two, they're the highest average scores achieved by any writers for a season since Jeri Taylor got 8.5 for in Voyager's first season, and she was only credited with two episodes that year. Next up is Wolfe who gets of score of 6.75 for his final season as a staff writer, although he writes one more episode as a freelancer in season 7. Thompson and Weddle are next with a score of 6.5. Ira Behr's score is 5.875 while Hans Beimler's is 5.25. Peter Allan Fields writes his final episode of DS9 which got a score of 5, which is disappointing for him.

    [​IMG]

    Something unexpected happened this season with Moore actually overtaking Field's lead, which I had previously thought was insurmountable. They both have an amazing score of 7.25, but Moore is credited with more episodes so he gets a technical lead. With Fields final score now set, Moore will have to maintain this level of quality in the final two seasons to stay ahead. Echevarria is in third place with a score of 6.769, while Thompson and Weddle's debut score of 6.5 puts them in fourth. Wolfe is up next with a score of 6.187, then Behr with 5.844, then Beimler with 5.667. Piller remains in last place with an average of 5.5.


    Statistics


    Runabouts Lost: 7 (+3)
    Form of... : 31 (+3)
    Wormhole in Peril: 7 (+3)
    Sykonee's Counter: 34 (+15)
    Stupid French Things: 4 (+1)

    Season 1 Average: 5.211
    Season 2 Average: 6.231
    Season 3 Average: 6.192
    Season 4 Average: 6.4
    Season 5 Average: 6.808

    Overall Average: 6.221

    Voyager Average After 5 Seasons: 4.915
    Enterprise Overall Average: 5.206
    Babylon 5 Overall Average: 6.121


    In Summation

    There's still much debate today about what the best season of DS9 is, but most people place season five as either their favourite or second favourite season of the show. It's easy to see why. Ignoring all the story arcs and epic plot twists season five brought, at it's core it is a very solid collection of episodes, and arguably the most consistent season of Star Trek ever. There are some weak spots, and Let He Who Is Without Sin... is a contender for the position as one of the worst episodes of the series, but that's an exception. This season is the work of a group of writers at or near the top of their game, and that's why it might just be DS9's best, and one of Star Trek's best.

    That being said, this season also makes noticeable one of DS9's biggest flaws: the fact that it's stuck between being an episodic show and a serialised one. Important storylines and character arcs rear their heads, then disappear only to surface again at a later date. By Inferno's Light, an episode that dramatically redefined DS9's political landscape gets followed up by an episode about Bashir's hidden genetic engineering, which also suddenly disappears the following week. I understand why the show is like this, but when you compare DS9 with other serialised shows, especially the ones we get today, it comes off looking amateurish. And while some will blame the studio or Berman for these problems, I think that the writers still could have done a little more to make the show just a little less schizophrenic.

    Thankfully, one thing that the show can rely on right now is the characters, at this point in the series they are all well defined and have good chemistry with one another. That's a backbone that the show needs now more than ever as they head in a new uncertain direction with the Dominion war and the loss of the station. Which character stood out the most this season? I think that Sisko gets the edge here once again, the character is the centre of the show in a way he wasn't in the early seasons. Of the extended cast, Nog has grown a lot this season and has become more interesting than some of the main cast, while the new additions to the extended cast, Martok and Weyoun, have made a strong impression. DS9 isn't content with having a cast of great characters, they insist on adding and fleshing out even more.

    Now, onwards to season 6...
     
  20. Deranged Nasat

    Deranged Nasat Vice Admiral Admiral

    Onwards indeed! Still the best review threads on the board, TGB. :)