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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    To your first point: that could be part of it. Winn always wanted to have the type of close connection to the Prophets that Sisko has.

    To the second point: I seem to recall some suggestion of this in the episode, but it's been a while, so I can't recall precisely.
     
  2. TheGodBen

    TheGodBen Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    It could have been either of those things, or something else, her actions just aren't well explained and don't make sense. Ambiguity can be good, but in this case I just don't know what the plan was.

    According to MA, they changed the ending as Winn was originally supposed to be the one possessed by the Pah-wraith, and Sisko was the one to stop the Reckoning to save the station. When they changed things around and had Jake be possessed instead, and decided that Sisko was willing to stand by and risk the life of his son, that's when they decided Winn would be the one to put a stop to it. The result was that Winn's motivation doesn't come naturally from the story but from the necessity to have someone save the station.

    I did like that the Prophet ignored Winn, though. That was a good bit of foreshadowing.


    Valiant (***½)

    So, I saw the new trailer for Star Trek II 2 today, and the timing was just perfect. Those of you that were around when I reviewed Star Trek I 2 several years ago know that I wasn't a fan of that movie. I didn't hate it, it just didn't suit my tastes, and while seeing a starship crash into the sea looks kinda cool, I don't imagine Star Trek Tutu will be to my tastes either. I know that a lot has been made about the similarities between Valiant and Star Trek Un Deux since that film's release, but I still think that I would have much preferred that movie if Kirk and co had died at the end of it.

    Valiant certainly has its problems. The setup is kinda out there, sending a crew of cadets on a training voyage in an advanced warship is rather unlikely. But if there's anything I've learned from watching every episode of Star Trek it is that Starfleet is utterly incompetent and the requirement for becoming an admiral is failing the entry exam. (Cue joke about Admiral Janeway.) Another issue with the episode is that Jake, Nog, and Dr Dorian are the only survivors, which is mightily convenient. Another problem with the episode is that it lacks subtlety in many scenes, and if it was intended to be an ambiguous story where the audience is supposed to decide who was right and who was wrong, it failed on that front.

    But other than those issue, I like it as a tale about how idiocy and glory-seeking in wartime will get you killed. And it will get your crew killed. And blindly following such a leader will get you killed. And it will get your friends killed. At various points in time, producers at Paramount considered inflicting a Star Trek movie or TV show about Starfleet cadets on us, and this episode is a brutal antidote to that. Like I said, it's not subtle, but it's a tale worth telling. It's also a reasonably good vehicle for Jake, which is rare in these latter seasons.

    Runabouts Lost: 8
     
  3. You_Will_Fail

    You_Will_Fail Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    IT'S REAL!

    *blugh*
     
  4. Deranged Nasat

    Deranged Nasat Vice Admiral Admiral

    One of the things I dislike about this episode is that Red Squad are supposed to be the finest cadets at the academy (presumably, the future command-track officers). And given the apparent prestige Starfleet has to the peoples of the Federation, as their foremost explorative/scientific/defensive institution, they're presumably supposed to be nothing less than some of the finest young people of their generation, however such things are measured. So why are they all such idiots? Why are the "elite" youth of the Federation - a society where simple merit is supposedly what earns you that "elite" status - so easily tempted by the sort of glory-hunger and hero worship we see here? Now, there's nothing wrong with the general idea of the episode - cadets thrust into a full-on war losing sight of their training and falling into the sort of behaviour we see here - but in practice it's as if Red Squad have less 'lost their way' and more 'never had the way to begin with'. The whole thing seems a little short-sighted to me, that it hasn't been considered how this reflects on Starfleet as a whole and so on the wider universe of the series and the franchse. That the Federation is implicitly presented as having such serious flaws seems a misstep - this isn't one of the deliberate moves to apply a more cynical eye to the UFP the way DS9's finer episodes often do, this seems like a mass character derailment for the sake of a story.
     
  5. DonIago

    DonIago Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Given the problems with Starfleet Academy illustrated in "First Duty" and "Homefront/Paradise Lost", I'd almost say this seems like par for the course.
     
  6. flemm

    flemm Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Well, I don't know that it's a misstep, really, in the sense of "unintended." Part of what would explain Red Squad's behavior is a misguided sort of "Captain worship" that young people in starfleet might plausibly tend to suffer from. Of course, generally in Trek, "Captain worship" is seen as a good thing.

    So, I tend to see this episode more as one of those cases on DS9 where there is intentionally a more cynical take on some of the core Trek tendencies, such as "being bold," "glorifying/deifying the Captain," "daring to attempt the impossible," etc.

    I don't think it's a great episode, though. Some of it is just a little too obvious and overdone. And, while there is some attempt to salvage a little ambiguity at the end, I actually think Red Squad, and their captain especially, needed to be more sympathetic for this to really work. Or their failure needed to be a little less obvious/complete.

    It's also hard to build an episode around the death of a bunch of throwaway characters.

    So, it has its merits, but I don't really like it.
     
  7. Paper Moon

    Paper Moon Commander Red Shirt

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    Yeah, this. The central idea of the episode, the dangers of hero worship and mindlessly following orders, even during war, is good, and is something that I definitely think should be explored in the arc of the Dominion War overall. Jellico's words about the need not to have orders questioned during times of crisis spring to mind as a state of mind that was probably prevalent during the war, and yet this episode (would have) shows (shown) how dangerous that can be.

    But as it's done, they really beat us over the head with it, and it just becomes painful to watch.

    Jake does help the episode quite a bit. It's such a shame they never could figure out what to do with him. In hindsight, the possibilities seem endless.

    And while it's sad to see Nog get caught up in this collective fantasy of Red Squad's, it's also sadly believable given the character.
     
  8. TheRoyalFamily

    TheRoyalFamily Commodore Commodore

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    Red Squad sounds like it was personally put together by that one admiral back when to do his dirty business, so they are probably the ambitious, less scrupulous types that are also pretty darn good at what they do, as long as it isn't something huge...like fighting a new enemy battleship in a crippled little ship behind enemy lines.

    Honestly, it's impressive they managed to survive as long as they did, in as bad a shape as they were in, and do as well as they did. It seems the big mistake that led to everyone dying was the captain getting too strung out and tired, and folks going along with it when it is pretty clearly putting the captain into "medically not fit for duty" status. The obvious thing to do, once they were able, would be to high-tail it out of Dodge, but the compromised captain decided not to.

    Even then, they probably could have survived if they were in a fully-working ship.

    Funny thing is, he was likely everything they all wanted to be. But yah, Nog probably would have been in Red Squad if he had been at the academy long enough when it was formed. He definitely fits the profile.
     
  9. flemm

    flemm Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Yeah, here again, I can't really fault what the episode does. It makes sense that Nog would be taken in, or that he would get caught up in the group-think and enthusiasm. It also makes sense that Jake would be more resistant to that attitude.

    There are even a few moments when Jake seems a bit timid and weak, which is good. It prevents his careful attitude, which turns out to be right, from seeming too attractive.

    Having said that, I just don't find the episode all that compelling, and never have. I guess that's because of the throwaway quality of the Red Squad characters, and because the episode makes its point in a way that strikes me as too heavy-handed.
     
  10. apenpaap

    apenpaap Commodore Commodore

    I find Valiant a highly annoying episode. I know there;s things in it that I like, but I think the problem is that the crew of that ship really annoyed me, like a ship full of Wesleys.
     
  11. TheGodBen

    TheGodBen Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Indeed. Just because Red Squad are told they are the elite of the elite doesn't mean that was the real reason they were chosen to be in Red Squad. Considering they were previously used as pawns in an attempted coup, it seems likely that the admirals in charge of the group were selecting cadets that they knew would blindly follow orders. Some of the crew on Valiant may even have been part of the team that sabotaged Earth's power grid two years before.

    Yes, but they die! An entire crew full of Wesley's died, and the one survivor had her entire belief-system shattered. It was glorious. :evil:


    Profit and Lace (*)

    Okay, that joke is worth half a star. Not only did it get a chuckle out of me, it perfectly sums up my feelings on Ferenginar. The Ferengi economy collapsed and Zek lost power? I don't give a shit. Worf said exactly what needed to be said, then stayed out of the rest of the episode. The guy's a hero.

    What about the other half-star? The episode earns that for being just a tiny bit slick. You know, like an oil slick. If Let He Who Is Without Sin... is a horrific car crash then Profit and Lace is a horrific car crash on ice! Sure, the car is still wrecked and the passengers are dead, but it all happened slightly faster than usual and it was more interesting visually.

    The downsides, we all already know. This episode is unfunny sexist garbage that kills brain cells at twice the rate of alcohol without having the positive effect of blocking the events from your memory.

    Stupid French Things: 5
     
  12. lvsxy808

    lvsxy808 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    At least one definitely was: Riley Sheppard appeared in both episodes.

    .
     
  13. Deranged Nasat

    Deranged Nasat Vice Admiral Admiral

    That certainly makes sense (perfect sense, actually), but I don't remember anything in The Valiant that particularly suggested to me that this was being considered (although I admit it's been a while since I've watched the episode). Usually I'd applaud the show for being subtle and allowing us to pick up any such implied subtexts, especially those rooted in the show's prior continuity, but given how unsubtle the episode is I find it hard to accept that there was that much thought put into it. I assumed, then, that the episode was working from the assumption that Red Squad were indeed the best. Maybe I'm underestimating the episode, but I sort of took it at face value because that's what it seemed to want me to do. :shrug:

    Nog getting swept up in the hero-worship and general glory-seeking made sense to me, and the reasoning given on Memory Alpha works for me too; I just feel that the episode doesn't really justify why a crew of elite Starfleet cadets are shown to be slipping into such dangerous thinking - it just makes me uncomfortable for what it seems to imply about the Federation and I'm not sure I get the sense any of that is being considered here.
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2012
  14. flemm

    flemm Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Quark is a great character when he is interacting with other characters who are not Ferengi, but building whole episodes around Ferengi is risky business. Some of them are just painful.

    One star is generous, especially given that an episode like Wrongs is at one and a half.

    The Worf quote is hilarious though!
     
  15. TheGodBen

    TheGodBen Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Good catch, I didn't notice that. Considering he wasn't expelled for his role in the coup and still remained a member of Red Squad, I think it adds credence to the idea that Red Squad wasn't just for the best of the best, but also the most malleable.

    Yeah, I don't hate the episode the same way most people do. It's really bad and shouldn't have been made, but at least there's some energy to it, unlike Let He Who Is Without Sin..., an episode that felt like it was three hours long.


    Time's Orphan (*½)

    The Romulans must be doing a good job kicking the Dominion's ass, because families are apparently safe to return to DS9. Only a month after the station was evacuated and nearly destroyed by the Reckoning, no less. To celebrate, O'Brien decides to take his family on a picnic to some largely deserted world, and somehow beams down within meters of an active time portal left by an ancient civilisation. Considering the size of most terrestrial planets, that is astronomically bad luck. To make matters worse, this working time portal inexplicably collapses after Molly falls through it. At this point I can only conclude that the gods of the Star Trek universe are intentionally fucking with O'Brien and his family, there is just no other logical explanation for this amount of bad luck.

    In a rare break for O'Brien, he actually works for a god, one that's kind enough to allow his underlings to use a magical orb to travel back in time for personal reasons. Unfortunately for O'Brien, everyone has forgotten that this simple method of time travel exists, and they instead attempt to repair a time portal built by aliens that they know nothing about. It turns out that repairing and calibrating strange and advanced technology is really, really difficult and O'Brien and co screw up, rescuing Molly 10 years too late. Then the stupid happens.

    Good lord, this is stupid. By that logic, "rescuing" 18 year-old Molly is wrong because it erased the feral 40 year-old Molly (who already existed) from time, and the correct course of action would be to send 18 year-old Molly back in time immediately. Just because you didn't spend time in the same room with middle-aged feral Molly doesn't mean she didn't exist and didn't have the same right to exist as 18 year-old feral Molly. By this logic, any attempt to rescue anyone who is trapped back in time is immoral. Since this episode is based on such a selective interpretation of time travel morality, one that's used purely to justify this week's story, the whole episode feels hollow and I can't be bothered to get emotionally invested in it. That's a good thing in this case because the episode ends with a reset button anyway, making the whole story more or less meaningless.

    The B-story is sweet though. It's not quite worth watching the whole episode just to see Worf attempting to prove himself as a father, but it's a nice, gentle story that explores Worf and Jadzia's relationship a little more and adds extra meaning to her impending death.
     
  16. flemm

    flemm Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I watched Time's Orphan once, and I don't believe I've ever rewatched it. I remember not liking it at all.

    The end of season 6 is weird. Alongside a few classics, there is a stretch of episodes that I think is the worst the show ever produced, outside of maybe season one.

    Depending on how one feels about His Way, and maybe Wrongs, I guess.

    I suppose the direction-less feel to a lot of these episodes may be due to the uncertainty about the show moving forward to a seventh season. We ended up with quite a bit of what is basically filler at the end of season 6.
     
  17. Sykonee

    Sykonee Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    At least we will always have "bollocks".
     
  18. TheGodBen

    TheGodBen Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    It's possible that they had some plans for how to end the show, but when they got the green-light for season 7 they postponed them and had nothing to fill the gap, so we get a lot of poorly thought-out filler material. Combined with the fact that the opening arc drained a lot of their creative juices early in the season, and season 6 ends with a major slump.

    Unless I decide to go through with the surgery... oh, wait, you're talking about O'Brien? Forget I said that. :alienblush:


    The Sound of Her Voice (***½)

    This is a pleasant and reasonably enjoyable episode that also happens to be fairly forgettable. The Defiant pick up a distress signal and go on a week-long detour to rescue a captain trapped on a hostile world. By talking with her, the crew find an outlet to express their bottled-up emotions, which helps them to come to terms with problems in their personal lives. This angle of the story is pretty good and pleasantly free of melodrama, it's just people talking and finally grappling the problems they had been ignoring for a long time. O'Brien's problem is particularly interesting because it's about the subtle psychological effects that the war is having on him and his ability to make and maintain friendships. He's not considering leaving Starfleet, and his solution isn't divine intervention from the Prophets, he's just talking. I appreciate that.

    That's not to say that the episode is free of melodrama, this episode has some of the worst act-breaks I can remember.

    Oh no! The cheap suspense is killing me!

    Not that it matters in the end, it turns out that Lisa has been dead for three years and they've been communicating with her through a magic barrier. It's a pointless sci-fi twist in an episode about people's psychological problems, but it doesn't detract from the story in any real way, it's just sort of there. I suppose there's something haunting about a group of people getting necessary advice about life from a dead woman, but the episode doesn't even try to sell that angle, it's just some bizarre thing that happened. I'm more puzzled by the fact that Sisko didn't check Starfleet's records about the USS Olympia and realise the three-year discrepancy in Lisa's account, but I suppose Sisko might have been busy constructing the flat-pack furniture in his new office on the Defiant.

    Meanwhile, Quark attempts to outsmart Odo as part of some scheme or some-such thing. Not a great plot, but it's okay. It's a decent reflection on their complicated relationship, but it doesn't add up to much.

    Form of... two barrels: 33
     
  19. lurok

    lurok Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Me too.:) Agree with all the last few reviews though can just about bear Profit... if think of it as not-very-good camp British farce (isn't that the one Sid directed?). The big issue I have with Red Squad is I really don't care if they live or die. Surely a major fail.
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2012
  20. Seven of Five

    Seven of Five Commodore Commodore

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    I enjoyed all of those episodes somewhat - perhaps His Way and Time's Orphan are more at the average end of the scale, but I enjoyed Wrongs Darker and Valiant.

    I liked Sound of Her Voice too, the unnecessary twist at the end aside. It was good to hear the crew talking about how they were feeling after some of the crazy shit that had gone down.

    I have to agree that season six has really hit a rough patch though. There is the occasional gem, but you have to get through too much fluff to get to it. Aside from In The Pale Moonlight, it's just not as dramatic or exciting since the Occupation Arc.
     

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