TheGodBen Revisits Deep Space Nine

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

  1. Sykonee

    Sykonee Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I'm sure even the most ardent Fiver would understand not wanting to finish that one off. :rommie:

    Interesting you have B5's S4 ahead of DS9's S5. I recall DS9S5 beat out B5S4 in my thread. Mind, DS9S5 didn't face off against the end of B5S4, so maybe that's why. On the other hand, the end of B5S4 did go up against the beginning of DS9S6 (the Occupation Arc). It'd be interesting to see those two compared according to your numerical values.



    (random stumbles into thread, wonders what's up with all the license plate numbers)
     
  2. TheGodBen

    TheGodBen Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    It's interesting, but I did seem to rate B5S4 higher than most people, so that might explain it. I actually rated DS9S5 with more 9s and 10s than B5S4, and B5S4 only had one episodes rated as 4 with none below that. It really was just Let He Who Is Without Sin... and Ferengi Love Songs that held DS9S5 back, but overall I think they're both comparably strong seasons.


    A Time to Stand (****½)

    I think it was Jammer who said in his review of this episode that A Time to Stand is like TNG's Yesterday's Enterprise, except all of this is really happening to the characters and there's no easy reset button. That's part of the reason why this episode works so well, it's almost exciting to see these characters so downbeat with victory far off on the horizon, it's an unusual direction for Trek to go down. The episode starts with a fantastic six-minute teaser that has the characters depressingly contemplating their deaths and the destruction of their civilisation, and it gets Sisko so upset that he shatters a sheet of transparent aluminium. It's a powerful sequence that sets a tone for this arc. If Star Trek is a franchise about what it means to be human, then DS9 is finally going to address what it means to be human when our backs are against the wall, and that's the signal of intent that we get from this episode.

    The main plot of this episode isn't anything special, the high score is all about the tone of the episode and how the characters react to the current situation. In truth, telling a smaller story in this episode helps to reinforce that this is the new normal and that the show's not in a hurry to get Sisko and co back to the station. Instead of Sisko pleading for resources to take the station back, he and his crew go where they're told, and in this case that means using a captured Dominion ship to blow up a ketracel-white storage facility real good. They fly the ship right-side up, they shoot at a centaur, then they blow themselves up. Good stuff.

    But the real treat of this episode is all the delicious scenes between Dukat and Weyoun as the tensions between Cardassia and the Dominion begin to show. Dukat is such an egotistical bastard that watching him get cut down by a smarmy little worm like Weyoun is delightful, but it's also fascinating to watch the wheels of Dukat's mind turn as he rewrites the present in his own mind to better suit his image of himself. It's a pity that Dukat goes whacko at the end of this arc, I would have loved to have seen him and Weyoun tear each other apart as the proverbial hits the fan. But I guess we get the Damar/Weyoun conflict instead which is a worthy substitute.
     
  3. apenpaap

    apenpaap Commodore Commodore

    I really love A Time to Stand too. But the thing I love most about it is Dukat recording the Captain's log.
     
  4. Seven of Five

    Seven of Five Commodore Commodore

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    A Time to Stand is a brilliantly dark start to the season. It just wasn't what I wa expecting at all when I first saw it, as it played against all of he established Trek stereotypes. I remember excitedly renting the first video of the season that had the first two episodes on. I couldn't believe how the storyline carryed on.
     
  5. TheGodBen

    TheGodBen Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Rocks and Shoals (*****)

    If A Time to Stand was a statement of intent to bring DS9 to a darker place, Rocks and Shoals is the proof that they're not messing around. Betrayal, suicide, and a dozen pointless deaths on a lifeless rock. But perhaps even darker is the realisation that Kira has sleepwalked her way into becoming a collaborator. She's the last person you would expect that would happen to, but in her attempts to keep Bajor out of the fighting she has been working with the Cardassians, defending the arrival of Dominion officials on Bajor, and even attempted to prevent a peaceful protest. What's great about this storyline is that you understand why she's doing what she has been doing, and you're almost on her side as she argues with Jake and Vedek Yassim and makes them look naive. But it takes the shock of Yassim's dramatic suicide to jolt Kira awake again, to make her realise that she has become the sort of person she used to detest. This is great material, a hugely important moment for Kira's character, and one of the best stories crafted for a character that has already had a lot of great stories in the past. Kira is a character that just keeps on giving, Berman and Piller had a good day when they came up with her.

    Meanwhile, Sisko and co coincidentally crash-land on a planet within only a few kilometers of a Dominion ship that crashed a few days earlier. I know that all of you are aware of just how vastly, hugely, mindbogglingly big space is, and how unlikely is is for this to happen, but it leads to a great story so I can't be bothered to give a damn. Part of what's so great about this episode is that it humanises the Jem'Hadar in a way that past episodes focusing on them failed to do. It did so not by having the Jem'Hadar rebel, as in Hippocratic Oath or To the Death, but by having them strictly adhere to the order of things. They die not because they dared to believe in freedom, but because they dared not to. They rejected the choice to have a choice, and consequently marched stoically toward their own suicide. Just like the Kira story, there's some really meaty material here to chew over, and this is probably the best Jem'Hadar episode of the entire series.

    The stories are great, but that's not all, this episode works on all levels. The writing is great, there's some really good dialogue here and a lot of memorable lines. The cinematography is great, there's a lot of fantastic shots and some great editing, this is one of the best-looking Trek episodes ever produced. The musical score is also great, there's a slow brood to it that perfectly matches both stories. David Bell was the composer for this episode, and I know that he goes on to score Sacrifice of Angels and In the Pale Moonlight, so his musical style best represents the Dominion war for me.

    That line takes on a new meaning when rewatching the show. ;)
     
  6. Deranged Nasat

    Deranged Nasat Vice Admiral Admiral

    Agreed. I think the writers realized here that we needed to get a sense of who the Jem'Hadar are when they accept their role in the Dominion's plan, as the majority clearly do. More than simply humanizing the Jem'Hadar, it also helps cement our understanding of the Dominion and the threat they pose during this war. We might sympathize with the Jem'Hadar, but if previous episodes like the two you mention gave the impression that "freeing the Jem'Hadar from exploitation" would be a possible solution, this episode shoots the idea down, in a way makes the Jemmies less able to relate to the heroes even as it makes them more relatable. That's pretty complex writing, and serves to up the stakes as well as let us invest in the Dominion emotionally. Pointing out that Jem'Hadar are exploited gets you nowhere - they already know it, and accept it as their purpose. We're in the uncomfortable position of seeing them find dignity in it, preferring the comfort of their intended purpose to any attempt at freeing themselves. That's what makes this plot work so effectively; the regret that the most relatable and honourable traits in the Jem'Hadar are those that make them harder to reach out to, rather than easier. It's really a tragic situation, and it's impressive how much more three dimensional this single episode makes the Dominion.

    I suppose the Kira plot also works very well alongside it, showing how Kira herself almost slips into an arguably similar mindset. Her purpose is to keep Bajor safe, keep the peace under their treaty with the Dominion...and she finds that she's been led into working within the Dominion's plan with the best of intentions, almost, as you say, becoming the sort of person she always fought against, almost justifying that mindset to herself. Overall, I think the episode works because it makes the Dominion a more complex threat; not just a force of military ships and soldiers but the sort of power that can eclipse freedoms in other, more subtle ways. We begin to truly get a sense that the Dominion is a functional empire that truly could subsume the alpha quadrant.
     
  7. Bamarren

    Bamarren Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    Keep up the great reviews, was around a year ago I was at the point your at now, and loved every second of it. Season 6 starts off brilliantly dark, and as you said, I was looking forward too (and thought) that there would be a huge show down between Dukat and Weyoun at some point, although can understand how Dukats arc went the way it did.
     
  8. Sykonee

    Sykonee Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    One of the things my writing course taught was, as fiction writers, you're in the business of telling the fantastic and coincidental. It's often a necessary evil to have situations 'just happen' in order to set up the problem because real life usually doesn't work that way (and when it does, that's where non-fictional works like biographies or historicals come into play). In fact, some of the best fiction comes from characters realistically reacting to circumstances created by the fantastic.

    So yeah, huge coincidence how this episode sets itself up, but the resulting drama from it makes it all the worth while.
     
  9. TheGodBen

    TheGodBen Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Sons and Daughters (**½)

    Sons and Daughters isn't a bad episode, but it has the misfortune to follow on from four of the best episodes of the series, perhaps the best run of episodes in the franchise, and fail to live up to their standard. It also has some niggling continuity issues.

    Alexander has reached the ripe old age of 8, and now he's ready to become a warrior on a Klingon ship. Fair enough, Klingons are a rather dumb species, maybe they reach maturity faster than humans because they historically didn't spend as much time having to learn things. Learn to talk, learn to walk, learn to throw rocks at things: congratulations, you're now a mature Klingon! However, Alexander seems to have lost track of time and thinks that Worf abandoned him five years ago when I only count three years, but maybe that's because Alexander left school when he was 8 and didn't learn to count properly. Admittedly, it has been a long time since I've rewatched TNG, and during my most recent rewatch I skipped most of the Alexander episodes because they're shite, but I don't remember Worf being as bad a dad as Alexander makes him out to be. He was never going to win the title of galaxy's best dad, but he did try to relate to Alexander, he did learn as the series progressed, and he did come to accept that Alexander didn't want to become a warrior. But now Alexander does want to become a warrior for some reason that's never explained. Go figure.

    I can understand why DS9 chose not to include Alexander when Worf joined the show (because Alexander episodes were shite, and that bears repeating), so Alexander does have a bit of a point when he says that Worf abandoned him, and I'm glad that DS9 finally got around to addressing that Worf is a father. But this was not the time nor best way to address these issues. And the solution is rather lame; Alexander becomes a made man in the Martok family. Yay? :confused:

    The Kira story is a better, but also poorly placed in the arc. Following on from her reawakening in the previous episode, she dozes off again, and her work in forming a resistance cell is put on hold so that she can hang out with Ziyal. Bringing Ziyal back to the station is important set-up for her death, and the episode puts the pieces in place well enough that you barely even notice what's really going on. Dukat's sleazy charm is also entertaining to watch, and Kira's bluntness in rejecting him displays some of the qualities that make her character so great. The episode could have done with a bit more of Kira and Odo organising their resistance in the background to keep the arc moving, but it's okay without that.

    Sykonee's Counter: 35
     
  10. Seven of Five

    Seven of Five Commodore Commodore

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    God I hate Alexander. He was in so many sucky episodes of TNG, and then sudddenly here he is, stinking up DS9's amazing run. I'd have preferred it if they'd just left him forgotten, a I rally didn't like the direction that him and Worf supposedly took after TNG.

    I also hate the dumb trope of children aging much more quicker than usual on TV, purely for the sake of 'interesting' stories. Feh.

    The other half of the episode was better.
     
  11. apenpaap

    apenpaap Commodore Commodore

    Yeah, Sons and Daughters is sadly pretty bad compared to the rest of the occupation arc. According to Memory Alpha a quite funny sounding scene involving Dukat imitating Damar was cut from it too.

    You can't prove that's your opinion until you do a TNG rewatch thread so you can put their ratings in a graph. :vulcan:
     
  12. TheGodBen

    TheGodBen Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I don't need to rewatch TNG to make a shiteograph about Alexander episodes.

    [​IMG]
     
  13. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

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    What's the scale on that graph? :p
     
  14. Sykonee

    Sykonee Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    According to Paul Ryan, you have to include The Emissary in that as well.:alienblush:
     
  15. Worf'sParmach

    Worf'sParmach Commander Red Shirt

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    Ok, I literally LOL'ed at that.

    I think the thing that bothers me the most about the whole Alexander/Worf thing is that it completely contradicts the way TNG left the two. As annoying as Alexander could be, there was a progression in his relationship with Worf on TNG, culminating in "Firstborn" where Worf refused to be separated from him. Worf wasn't winning any father of the year awards yet, but he was trying.

    So it was a little annoying that they just disregarded all that when Worf got the job on DS9. I get why the writers didn't have him bring Alexander to DS9- there was already a single father on the station, another one would be redundant. But the way they handled it was just bad, and "Sons and Daughters" is the pinnacle of that. It had already been addressed that Worf's parents were too old to take care of Alexander. Maybe if Worf had decided to send him to military school as he'd contemplated in "Firstborn" then him showing up on a Klingon ship would have been more believable.

    And I can't believe that Worf's parents wouldn't have told him that Alexander ran off to join the military.
     
  16. R. Star

    R. Star Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Yeah, DS9 Alexander just struck me as a bumbling Klingon teen with daddy issues. As for the age 8 thing? Maybe Klingons grow up more quickly, and I don't find it hard at all to believe the Klingons would take fully matured people in the middle of a war no matter their age. It is a warrior culture.
     
  17. Sykonee

    Sykonee Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I think the Doc in VOY actually mentioned Klingon's aging quickly, sort of as a throwaway continuity bone to explain Wildman's rapid age jump.
     
  18. TheGodBen

    TheGodBen Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I don't think it has one, it's a really shite graph. :alienblush:


    Behind the Lines (***½)

    Behind the Lines is the beginning of the end of the occupation arc, the pieces are being put in place for the two-part finale. With the minefield being brought down and Rom arrested, things have to come to a head soon. For the most part this episode is very successful at moving the plot forward and addressing relevant characterisation. The problem with the episode is, of course, the ending. I don't mind that they sent Odo off into a completely other place, but I know that this change for him will begin to change back in the next episode and be resolved in a closet in a few episodes. The lack of follow-through on this change in Odo cheapens the ending of this episode and undermines his arc here with the female Changeling. That's really unfortunate, because exploring that a little deeper would have been fascinating, but the writers apparently weren't prepared to do that. The result is messy, and the ending of this episode goes too far in making Odo seem aloof and uncaring about his friends. I know that it can be explained away as Odo experiencing some sort of post-orgasmic high from the link which soon wore off, but if that's all it is then don't present it as a bit of a cliffhanger.

    Meanwhile, Sisko gets a bit of a promotion and is given a desk job away from the Defiant. This is a pleasant enough tale, but it is kinda pointless considering he's on the brink of retaking DS9 and this change for his position will be undone. As I said, it's a nice tale, and I actually somewhat appreciated that the story kept its focus on Sisko and didn't show us the actual battle Sisko sent the Defiant into. Jadzia isn't quite as convincing as Sisko during the ceremony of the used power-cell, you need a certain amount of craziness to make such a thing not seem cheesy and nobody on the show does crazy quite as well as Sisko.
     
  19. apenpaap

    apenpaap Commodore Commodore

    So that's apparently why Odo's actions in the arc get brushed away so quickly and offscreenly. I agree that it was a bad decision.

    Also, this episode does indeed seem very much like Sisko got promoted, which is why I decided to consider him a Commodore for the rest of the series on my latest rewatch.
     
  20. Worf'sParmach

    Worf'sParmach Commander Red Shirt

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    Though not 100% satisfied with the way it was handled, I'm glad they didn't do that. First off, weddings being interrupted by whatever is such a played out TV cliche. Secondly, it just seems way too drama-queen for Odo.