Discussion in 'Deep Space Nine' started by TheGodBen, Oct 16, 2011.
The holodeck; guaranteed to ruin your day. Sometimes even intentionally!
Now my counter will never win.
I agree that the reference to Sisko being "Black" instead of just being a dark skinned Human was jarring. It takes you out of universe for a moment. For that moment, I see Avery Brooks instead of Ben Sisko.
I also rememeber wondering how realistic it would be that he seems so personally affected by the Civil Rights movement. It was 400 years ago for Ben. Then again, there was the Benny Russel experience so that may make it seem much more "fresh" in his mind.
Sisko was a little odd here, yeah, but I also chalked it up to his Benny Russell experience.That said, I really love this episode. Because it's finally a holodeck episode that doesn't go "AAAARGH, WE'RE ALL GONNA DIE!!!" but just has fun with the crew doing a heist with as good as nothing at stake. I also loved the moment where they walk in costume over the promenade and the main theme plays. It's a pity Quark doesn't get involved, though.
Yeah, I've always found that odd, especially since it works as a kind of final lighthearted group outing before the war arc. Quark was already side-lined enough at this point.
It's a fan service episode, but DS9 fans tend to not really care that much about this sort of fan service, at least not the genre fans who rewatch the show and discuss it on forums like this. But... I guess it has its place, and maybe was appreciated by dedicated fans of the show while it was on the air.
Exactly. I mean, you could argue that it is a sign of minor oppression and be poetic about it, but yeah.
They could shut the program down. Yeah, it would wipe Vic's memory, but there's an argument to be made that that wasn't supposed to matter, at least, in Felix's mind. So, yeah, Felix has messed with the holosuite, but that's hardly a critical system and it's easy to conceive of a way he could've done it that would keep the influence isolated to the holosuite program. And if people didn't want to play with his jack-in-the-box, they just reset the program. It's not like it's (supposed) to be a plot-based program, where you'd "save your game" regularly, it's the same thing over and over again.
I agree it was ham-handed, and there probably should've been a connection to Benny Russell. (I wonder if Avery Brooks pushed for the inclusion of this thread in the story.)
On the other hand (well, not exactly, since it doesn't invalidate the point that it's a ham-handed execution, but anyway), I believe that there is indirect evidence to support this seemingly abruptly-added aspect of Sisko's character, which I outlined here, back during the discussion of "Far Beyond The Stars."
Quoting the most relevant bit [edited slightly for clarity]:
So there is precedent for Sisko's sensitivity to the romanticized history here, beyond his Benny Russell experiences alone.
It seems possible to me that Sisko is part of a particular cultural movement taking place among humans in the latter half of the 24th century, in which humans are more aware of their individual heritage among the rich diversity of backgrounds found on Earth. We only see about 14 24th-century Earth-born humans in any significant depth; it could just be that Sisko is that only adherent of this movement of those that we've seen.
But I actually think we don't even need that explanation. Kirk was born in Iowa; I could definitely see him talking about "family roots in Iowa," or values that he picked up as an Iowan. Chekov proclaimed the glories of Russia and the Russian people on a regular basis. Chakotay identifies with his Native American ancestry. And Picard, perhaps more in conception that execution, put serious value on his French heritage. Maybe none of them would go so far as to say "I'm a Frenchman, while one of my predecessors was an Iowan," but maybe they would.
And O'Brien, too. If he were shown a holo-program that took place in Belfast in the 1970s and depicted a peaceful era of independent Irish rule (or at the very least, one that made no mention of the Troubles whatsoever), don't you think he would react a bit negatively at the revisionist history? [EDIT: It occurs to me that this comparison may be faux pas. To clarify, recall that, in the Trekverse, Ireland was united in 2024. So, presumably, O'Brien's understanding of "Irish identity" incorporates republican and unionist narratives (the way today's American identity incorporates narratives from New England, the South, the Mid-West, etc). A better comparison might be to ask if O'Brien's reaction to Voyager's "Fair Haven" program would be comparable to your own, GodBen.]
My point is that it's not quite so simple as
The "our people" phrase is a bit further than we've seen, but it's really not that far removed from the ethnic pride we see in Picard, Kirk, Chekov, Chakotay, or O'Brien.
Very good points made in your post. And you're right, several other characters refer to their ethnic roots on Earth, so it makes sense in that regard. I'd forgotten about the mask that you mentioned.
Avery Brooks is very active in African American civil rights so I'm sure he had something to do with it as well (not that that's a bad thing).
I find it odd that Jake was left out of the caper while Kasidy was involved. Jake was actually shown enjoying Vic's program before, but Kasidy's friendship with Vic was invented to include her in this episode. A slight adaptation to the story and she could easily (and more believably) have been replaced by Jake.
My reaction to Fairhaven is something I think about whenever the topic of Sisko and Vic comes up, and it is true that a part of the reason for my strong negative reaction to Fairhaven was due to those episodes playing fast and loose with Irish history. So it has always made sense to me that a black person in the future might have a problem with Vic's program. The difference between me and Sisko though is that I'm more vocal about my cultural identity, so it doesn't surprise people if I go on a rant about perceived slights towards Irish people. Sisko never really vocalised his connection to his cultural identity (although I do agree that it's there in the background via his clothes, art, etc.) so when he suddenly starts speaking passionately on the subject it is a little weird.
Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges (*****)
I mentioned back when reviewing Inquisition that Bashir has an interesting double standard when it comes to black operations. On the one hand, he strongly objects to Sloan and section 31, but one of his closest friends is a former spy who assassinated countless individuals in his former profession and shows no remorse for it. It's interesting then that this episode begins with a conversation between Bashir and Garak about Garak's previous assignment to Romulus, which is treated as a light-hearted discussion among friends, including jokes. Garak probably did unconscionable things on Romulus, possibly even including murder, but to Bashir that is just part of the intrigue of Garak.
Then Sloan shows up and indicates that he wants Bashir to keep his ears open while on Romulus, and suddenly Bashir thinks such acts are barely conscionable. Bear in mind that what Sloan actually says isn't so bad, he's just looking to the future beyond the Dominion war and anticipating the threats of the potential political landscape. But Bashir is so idealistic that he chases after Sloan with a gun, scaring the bejesus out of Ezri.
Inter Arma is similar to In the Pale Moonlight in that it's about the lengths that Starfleet is willing to go to in order to win the war against the Dominion, but the key difference is that the main character in this story isn't compromised. Sisko chose to be duplicitous and ended up getting in over his head, while Bashir is tempted to play spy but ends up doing the right thing in the end. That's a no less interesting way to go, and it suits the character better anyway. Bashir is idealistic, he completely believes in the ideals of the Federation, so it makes sense that he would choose to stand his moral ground when he's put on the spot. Sadly for him, that was exactly what Sloan was expecting Bashir would do and Bashir got played, by both Sloan and Admiral Ross.
Admiral Ross is another interesting part of the episode. The trope of the corrupt admiral has been used time and time again in Star Trek, but with Ross it finally has a real impact. Not just because Ross is a recurring character that we have come to trust, but also because his reasoning can't be ignored. He's trying to end a war and save lives, and the episode doesn't condemn him for his role in the conspiracy. Is Ross's practical approach the right way to do things, or is Bashir's idealism the better way? The episode doesn't choose. In the final moment of the episode, even Bashir is left doubting.
In some cases, awarding an episode five stars is a no-brainer, such as Duet and In the Pale Moonlight, but sometimes it requires some humming and hawing. Inter Arma is a case of the latter. There are some niggles with the episode; Sloan's plan may have been a bit too perfect, and the idea that the head of the Tal Shiar is working with Section 31 is almost too difficult to believe. But I am a sucker for conspiracy/spy stories, and this episode has a great tone to it and some wonderful twists to the tale. It also has an excellent final act that leaves us to ponder the necessity of a group like Section 31 before they get involved in DS9's final chapter.
Sykonee's Counter: 36
According to MA, Praetor Neral previously appeared as a Proconsul in TNG, which is something I hadn't realised before. So there you go, Sykonee, your counter is back in the lead.
I think this was done to remind us that Kasidy is still around, especially given what is about to happen between them.
Been following this thread since the beginning and I must have missed something because I have never known what this meant
Title's a minor gag. GodBen usually requests suggestions for counters at the start of his watch threads, and I've managed to worm one in since the ENT thread (I hadn't returned to TrekBBS when he'd started the VOY one).
Characters who originally appeared in other Trek.
Yeah, I'd probably give Inter Arma 4 or 4.5 stars, tbh. I love the episode, but, like Seige earlier in the season, it's highly derivative in certain respects. In this case, derivative of Cold War espionage stories, rather than war movies.
Like Seige, it's still an important episode, though, and, as you say, it's firmly rooted in the tradition of ItPM.
It's less innovative than that episode, though. I would say the same when comparing it to Chimera.
Did you ever notice that all Worf's relationships start out with the woman involved attempting to pummel him? He had sex with Kheyler, Jadzia, and now Ezri after they attempted to hit him. The obvious exception here is Troi, but their relationship was so lacking in sexuality that it was officially endorsed by the Catholic church. Anyway, making the leap from physical assault to sex makes sense for a Klingon, but it's clichéd. Another cliché is when a man and woman are trapped together and constantly bicker until they suddenly find themselves bumping uglies. Jungle sex is also a bit of a cliché, but this episode gets around that by adding the WTFness of having them keep their clothes on, which I suppose is a sensible precaution in an environment where strange alien bees are trying to climb into your anus.
Spoiler: risky click
The weirdness between Ezri and Worf was something that the show needed to address before it finished, but did they really need to hook up? Is it too much to ask that they talk out their remaining problems without further complicating it? It feels like we've wasted part of DS9's final chapter on a detour into territory that the show would have been best to avoid.
Meanwhile, Sisko has finally started making plans for his house on Bajor, which is a nice throwback to his little speech to Admiral Ross in Favor the Bold. While playing with his doll house late one night, he proposes to Kasidy in a sweet little scene that's refreshingly free of melodrama, presumably because Worf/Ezri used that week's quota. Sisko and Kasidy's relationship has been a rather down to Earth one.
Boy meets girl. Girl invites boy to baseball game. Boy shaves head. Girl is sent to prison for transporting supplies to terrorists. Boy seemingly forgets about girl. Girl comes back during boy's mental breakdown brought about by visions of the future. Girl disappears for a year. Girl shows up again during boy's second mental breakdown where he has visions of the past. Girl convinces boy that historically inaccurate holosuite programs are okay. Boy proposes to girl.
Okay, when you type it all out it doesn't seem all that down to Earth, but for Star Trek their relationship has been surprisingly ordinary.
Sadly for Sisko, his mother shows up and tells him he can't get married or there'll be "nothing but sorrow", which is Sarah's way of saying that she doesn't like Kasidy. That's when I realised something; the Prophets didn't try to prevent Sisko from marrying Jennifer, and Jennifer's death played a huge part in Sisko meeting the Prophets. Wouldn't it have been a kicker if the Prophets had somehow been responsible for her death? The revelation about Sarah Sisko fell a little flat as we had never met her nor Sisko's supposed mother before, but Jennifer's death was the starting point of the whole show, it has huge significance for the series, and to tie that beginning back into the end would have been great storytelling.
Maybe it would have been too dark. Maybe it would have been too villainous. (Kidnapping a woman and forcing her to have a baby against her will is perfectly fine, of course.) Maybe it would have been one sin that Sisko wouldn't have been able to forgive. But it might have been a more interesting way to take the Prophet storyline than the way it turned out.
Runabouts Lost: 9
That's an...excellent idea, and I'm ashamed I've never idly considered the possibility myself. That would indeed have been a good way to keep the Sisko-Prophets relationship grounded in what the pilot established, while also giving it a twist. From the Prophets' viewpoint it would make sense. The encounter with Sisko is their initial point of contact with our space-time, which provokes their interest in Bajor and the universe outside over the planet's history; Jennifer's death is thus essential to the stability of Bajor's past. if Sisko discovered that not only had they killed Jennifer to ensure he'd be their emissary, but that he unwittingly caused her death by mourning her so greatly after she died (headache ahoy...) and using the incident to jump-start Prophet-Humanoid mutual understanding...
That would have been great drama.
Another one of DS9's masterpieces and my favourite episode of the show, I also reckon it has the hardest plot to follow (though after a couple of viewings it all makes sense) which is an oddity because usually trek episodes make you think about the higher moral concepts and not the actual plot itself.
What I love is how the episode jacks you around with who's doing what, who's plotting what and what is the desired outcome to all this intrigue. Finally the pay-off (and an episode like this needed one after all the complicated shenanigans) NOT only makes sense but is very VERY satisfying and I think portrays Starfleet Command in a very different light. The common perception (in the Trek universe) is that Starfleet is all about exploring the unknown and protecting civilians through honourable means.
But really that's an illusion -- something which this episode and others (Paradise Lost) have hinted at, but this episode suggests this far more strongly -- someone has to do the dirty, disreputable and sometimes immoral work to ensure the Romulans, Klingons, Cardassians and other races out there don't bury the Federation six feet under. Section 31 is the dark side of the Federation to ensure the Federation remains this peaceful utopia. The fact Section 31 was shrouded in such secrecy suggests to me a lot of blue pill (the Matrix reference to sticking ones head in the sand, ignorance is bliss, etc...) thinking amongst Starfleet's top brass, High Council and so forth- something which first the two Borg incursions and then the Dominion war made them completely re-evaluate such blue sky thinking (in which I think Ross was like that until the Dominion war came in).
But man this episode is tight; it all rested on that last conversation between Ross and Bashir and that scene nailed it! If anything that was the climax, whilst Sloan popping up to visit Bashir in his quarters as merely the icing in the cake.
It's a pity this is the last episode of Star Trek to really evaluate how the Federation works and to do so in an unbiased way. VOY never came close to touching this; it didn't have the balls to do so, as for ENT... I've only seen the first two seasons and part of season 3 so I wouldn't know. But Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges marked the last of the thinking man's Star Trek; you know episodes which really made you think about this made-up universe.
Well, there was no Federation in Enterprise to explore the dark side of; but they definitely did some poking around in humanity's dark side in seasons 3 and 4. With the crew themselves in season 3, and then with Earth in season 4. It wasn't to the same extent as DS9 did it, but there certainly was a strong theme of it in the last two seasons.
It would have been nice if the Pah-wraith/Prophet conflict was somehow caused by Sisko's discovery of the wormhole as well. The Prophets chose to kill Jennifer so Sisko could become their Emissary and help Bajor recover, the Pah-wraiths attempt to prevent the intervention because they fear corporeal life, and thus end up being banished. It's a rough idea that I wouldn't be skilled enough to work out entirely, but it contains the sort of moral complexity and deep questions that the confrontation in the Fire Caves sorely lacked.
'Til Death Do Us Part (***)
This title is all wrong. Apparently people that get married in the 24th century use the phrase "until death separates us". They presumably updated the phrase after that period in the 23rd century when standard 5-year marriage contracts were all the rage, similar to how they replaced love instructors with holograms. But let's get back to the actual canon, shall we?
Sisko and Kasidy are getting married. Except now they aren't. And now they are again. Godsdamnit, is this a part of the marriage ritual in the 24th century, or something? First Keiko did it, then Jadzia, now Sisko. I have it on good authority (i.e. I made it up) that the opening sequence of Nemesis was supposed to be Diana calling off her wedding to Riker because he grew that beard back, but they cut it to add more shots of dune-buggies. Back on topic, Sisko decides not to marry Kasidy because beings that can see the future warned him that it would be a painful mistake, but after realising that the ring he bought was non-refundable he decides it's best to endure the horrible suffering. Thus proving that De Beers has distorted all rational perceptions of value in our society.
Actually, the real reason why Sisko called off the wedding is because Kai Winn insisted on performing the ceremony. While on the station, Winn receives a vision from those sneaky, sneaky Pah-wraiths who tell her to do whatever Dukat says. I actually quite like this decision to bring Winn and Dukat together like a villainous Voltron. It may get quite cheesy in later episodes, but in this episode I feel it works quite effectively to up the stakes to bring two of the show's main antagonists together. Speaking of bringing together antagonists...
Does it? The only time the Breen actually played a proper role on DS9 is when they were shown to operate a low-yield slave mine on Tatooine. They've never been portrayed as a major galactic force, so having them join the war is about as shocking as announcing that the Talarians have joined in. That being said, the Breen siding with the Dominion does make some sense considering that there was a captured Breen in the Dominion internment camp Bashir and co were kept in, so it's more than possible that a Changeling somehow wormed its way into the Breen government until it finally had enough power to join them with the Dominion. Not that that's ever stated in the show, nor is any proper motivation provided for the Breen, they're just walking puppets that make a funny sound. They work as a means to move the plot in an interesting direction, but they're hardly worth analysing.
Oops, I've missed a bit here.
Inter Arma is a brilliant episode, It's just a shame that the Section 31 arc that followed eventually fizzled in Extreme Measures. It's good to see Bashir put through the wringer in a similar way Sisko was in In The Pale Moonlight, and to watch how differently he handles things. He's grown so much from the first season, and it was a pleasure to watch.
Penumbra is a solid episode, but it's more or less just a lot of putting things into motion, which has played out more interestingly on other series. And of course, my favourite character has her own arc about getting it on with Worf. Why oh why? I understand them needing to confront their feelings, but just not in this icky way.
'Til Death Do Us Part is a better one. I really loved the Breen when I was younger, but purely on a superficial level. Not enough to get it on with them or anything mind. As a result I was a lot more wrapped up in their shenanigans then than I am these days. They're only there to advance the coming plot about Damar and the Cardassians.
Sisko and Kasidy unfortunately fall into the trappings of cliche Wedding stories, but I grew to like them so much as a couple of the course of the series that it didn't bother me so much.
Your reviews get funnier as we go
I like your Prophets-Jennifer Sisko idea. That might have been too dark even for DS9. If DS9 was a cable series airing today, it would totally work.
I agree with your assessment of Penumbra. There was definite weirdness between Worf and Ezri that had to be confronted, and I can even see Worf feeling like they should be together because he's so literal and duty bound. I just thought they dragged it out too long during the arc. I think her speech to him about the Klingon Empire later does a much better job of showing the progression of their relationship than Jungle Sex did.
I have never been a fan of the whole Sarah Sisko Prophet thing. Thought it was stupid back in 1998-99 and I still do. Sisko is already tied to Bajor by the events of the last 7 years, they didn't need to add the mom factor. They could have still played the "you can't get married, you're the Emissary" card without that. Major Fail, IMO.
I also had the same reaction regarding the Breen. "Um, ok, if you say so"
I don't think there has been any TV show to actually have a wedding where the bride and/or groom doesn't try to back out at the last minute.
Separate names with a comma.