My DS9 Rewatch Odyssey

Discussion in 'Star Trek: Deep Space Nine' started by ananta, Jan 5, 2021.

  1. ananta

    ananta Captain Captain

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    You guys do help paint it in a different perspective. Theoretically, I guess it does make sense she would go for what feels like a safe, comforting choice in men. In terms of execution, the relationship still fails for me. A successful on-screen romance really depends on a reasonable amount of chemistry, which just isn’t there. But Nana Visitor, bless her, really gives it her all as she always does. Having said all that, I will be watching “The Collaborator” with fresh eyes, and I do recall it being quite a strong episode, so perhaps I will feel differently.
     
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  2. ananta

    ananta Captain Captain

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    Here’s a question, though, if anyone is interested in answering—how do you feel about Odo convincing Rurigan to stay in the holographic village? Previously in Trek, and subsequently in “It’s Only a Paper Moon”, the consensus has been that living in the holodeck is a bad thing, and if someone has a tendency to seek their happiness there (Barclay, Nog) they are promptly discouraged. Do you think it was right for Odo to convince him to stay there? Would you be happy living in a village of holograms.

    No right or wrong answer, I’m just curious.
     
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  3. frankieteardrop

    frankieteardrop Commander Red Shirt

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    Bareil is kind of a wet noodle in terms of personality, but something to consider with respect to his relationship with Kira that no one has touched on yet is his status as a spiritual leader. Kira is a devout follower of the Prophets and Bareil's theological praxis and approach to the Bajoran religion seems pretty compatible with her own. It makes sense to me that she'd gravitate towards him. And, like others have said, he's certainly a safe, stabilizing presence, which might hold a great deal of appeal towards someone with Kira's history.
     
  4. Farscape One

    Farscape One Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I think Odo was perfectly right to convince Rurigan, for a very basic reason. He had nowhere else to go.

    Barclay and Nog, the examples you listed, had a life with real people in the real world. They were using the holodeck to escape shyness and trauma. They had a lot of options besides retreating into the holodeck.

    One can argue Rurigan escaped trauma like Nog, but I think it was more wanting to keep a piece of the spirit of his people alive. When the Dominion came, they likely destroyed anything that resembled a way of life he knew.

    His situation is more akin to the people of Kataan from "The Inner Light"... keeping the memory of what that society was alive as at least a memory. With "SHADOWPLAY", it actually could keep going indefinitely, so in a sense Rurigan actually saved his society by keeping a part of it alive as a holographic village.

    This functions better than a message in a bottle or a time capsule. Imagine if we could grab someone from the past, say from Atlantis, and have a holographic village done to their specifications. Think of what we could learn just by letting that village continue on. And not just the learning factor, we'd be keeping a society alive.


    The other thing to consider too is that this may be everyday stuff for Rurigan's people. They may value holograms more fully than Alpha Quadrant races.
     
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  5. Bad Thoughts

    Bad Thoughts Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Interesting question, but I must agree with Farscape One. Rurigan created the people , but the larger environment with which they interacted was real. The cycle of life and death was real. He wasn't controlling the community, but suffused himself within it. We might argue that he got lost, but there wasn't the same level of fantasy that motivated Nog to stay at Vic's. Of course, Rurigan was a caretaker, unlike Nog, of the environment he created.
     
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  6. ananta

    ananta Captain Captain

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    Nice, thoughtful analysis, Farscape. I tend to agree. While I think Odo and Dax could have offered to take Rurigan with them (another example is the alien kid living on his own in a kind of holodeck in TNG’s “Future Imperfect”, whom Riker essentially rescues), another thing to consider is that...he is an old man. Maybe it would be kinder for him to stay with his memories and the monument to his civilisation. I think it is a good ending.
     
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  7. Bad Thoughts

    Bad Thoughts Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I see this as a quality of a lot of Ds9 episode: the commitment on the part of the regulars to make the stories work despite their quality or the talents of the guest stars. It helps watching the Brigadoon episode or the bad trans episode easier.
     
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  8. Bry_Sinclair

    Bry_Sinclair Vice Admiral Admiral

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    They were holograms but it wasn't a set programme, he input the basics and let nature take its course, so whilst he may be hiding out in the simulation it's not like he'd made himself king and surrounded by a hareem of scantily clad women. It's a place for him to hide out in and live a life he might've had if things were different.
     
  9. LadyMondegreen

    LadyMondegreen Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    I think it was ambiguous whether the holograms on the planet were sentient, but even if they weren't, I agree that living out your life in a world populated by "smart" holograms whose actions you don't control and of whose lives you are only a part is very different from a holodeck fantasy of a world that centers around your desires. It probably would have been better, thirty years prior, for Rurigan to have found another way to deal with his grief without separating from society, but given that he's already an old man, it would seem unusually cruel to try and get him to separate from what's been his life for so long without anything to go back to.
     
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  10. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Regarding the comparison to "It's Only a Paper Moon", perhaps it's significant that in the latter case the hologram himself told Nog that he needed to move on, while in "Shadowplay"...well, I suppose we don't really know what the holograms might have told Rurigan, because they didn't know they were holograms. IIRC they do know at the end of the episode though? So maybe they would have eventually counseled Rurigan to find non-holograms to hang out with? Though, did Rurigan have any way to leave the planet?
     
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  11. ananta

    ananta Captain Captain

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    “Playing God”

    [​IMG]

    Jadzia’s morning routine is a whole lot more interesting than mine.

    This is one of those episodes that’s not without its issues, but each time I watch it I’m struck by just how downright enjoyable it is. What I especially love is that it feels like a snapshot of daily life on the station, and the characters are all in superb form, making it a particularly amiable, fun and refreshing episode.

    It also does a superb job of cementing the changes to Dax that we’ve already seen scattered throughout the season. Gone is the detached, stoic wallflower of season one, and in its place we find a Jadzia who is bursting with life, charisma and an infectious sense of joy and fun. Terry Farrell is clearly relishing the opportunity to revitalise the character and she shines from beginning to end. It’s worth noting that this is the first Dax episode where she is actually treated as a character rather than just a plot device (see “Dax” and “Invasive Procedures”). We actually get some interesting background on Jadzia’s experiences as an initiate and her troubled relationship with Curzon—something that will be expanded upon considerably in the following season’s “Facets”.

    The only real problem with the Jadzia plot is that Arjin isn’t as likeable as he ought to be, and that may be a combination of the way the role was written and acted. The character ought to be sympathetic—because we’ve all been in his position, whether it’s being assessed at school or college, or going through the paces of a particularly agonising job interview upon which our entire future seems to hinge. Unfortunately, he comes across as rather bratty and sanctimonious; and the scene where he rips into Dax was particularly egregious. We later learn that his motivation for getting joined is less his own and more a deathbed promise to his father, but even knowing that, I still wasn’t particularly rooting for him. Still, Terry Farrell is strong enough to carry the plot for both of them, and the conflict leads to a couple of dramatically satisfying scenes.

    Like “Shadowplay”, this episode has an A/B/C-plot structure; something that Michael Piller wanted to introduce as a new template for each episode, but which he deemed a failed experiment. The three plots have greater thematic cohesion this time around, and they all interface at some point. The vole sub-plot is pretty much a throwaway, but it’s fun and allows for some nice moments of humour—and a great conversation between O’Brien and Gul Evek, whose slightly sneering “yes, they can be a problem, can’t they?” is a low key highlight of the episode.

    Of course, it’s the episode’s B-plot that tends to get everyone talking. I love the concept of a proto-universe and it’s handled reasonably well...to begin with, at least. I’m generally NOT a fan of Star Trek space anomaly episodes: they’re based on inescapably abstract concepts, and apart from the obligatory visual effect shots, there’s not much to really sink your teeth into aside from copious technobabble (“we have to <tech> the <tech tech> or the <tech> will <tech> and the ship will explode!”) and the crew acting worriedly.

    But what this episode does well is present a fairly stark dilemma (if this proto-universe continues to expand it will wipe out this universe) and lets the crew discuss the various options in a way that’s in keeping with each of their characters. I love the way parallels are drawn to the way we unhesitatingly kill bacteria without a thought—“and that’s to say nothing of the voles,” Kira adds. These scenes are nicely done, which makes the eventual resolution an inevitable disappointment.

    First of all, Sisko matter of factly says that he will deliver his answer in an hour. Huh? Wouldn’t this actually be one of the biggest moral decisions in the history of humanity? How is Sisko even qualified to make such a decision himself? Shouldn’t he, at the very least, be consulting with Starfleet Command?

    For many years I was perplexed by his decision to simply return the proto-universe to where they found it. How on earth would that solve anything, I wondered? Isn’t that just shifting the problem for someone else to deal with—kinda like getting rid of a ticking bomb by tossing it across to your neighbour? After carefully re-watching the scenes and paying full attention to the dialogue, the implication would seem to be that the proto-universe wouldn’t be a threat if it were returned to the spot they inadvertently ripped it away from. We can therefore assume that, returned to the hole it was taken from, it would continue to grow, only outside the confines of our universe, perhaps interfacing with subspace or some such thing. This is only implied, and really needed to be more fully established in dialogue, because it makes the big debate seem a little pointless in retrospect (“well, actually, if we return it to where it is meant to be, there will be no consequences for anyone”). I mean, if returning it to the Gamma Quadrant was the solution, why’s there even a need for debate? The real difficulty, it transpires, is that it won’t be easy transporting it through the wormhole. Cue something of redemption for whiny Arjin, who fortunately happens to be an even better pilot than Jadzia.

    Ultimately, the resolution is a tad anticlimactic after such an apocalyptic buildup. But it does just about work, if you can accept that the script doesn’t quite spell things out as well as it ought to have done. We really needed to learn a little more about the proto-universe and why returning it is a solution, although it is possible to join the dots. Overall, though, I did find this a highly enjoyable and entertaining episode, and particularly love it for being such a turning point for Jadzia, who at this point officially became one of my favourite characters in not only the series, but the franchise. Rating: 7
     
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  12. Farscape One

    Farscape One Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Rurigan asked Dax and Odo not to tell them he was the only real one there, and they obliged. No one in the village knows the truth about him.
     
  13. Farscape One

    Farscape One Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Something to note about Arjin... Jadzia says arrogance seems to be a Trill trait, particularly from initiates or initiate potentials. I can see that happening, as their society has a rigorous screening process for initiates. It's basically saying they are better Trills than the average ones, so it's easy to see that getting to people's heads. Especially if they are young. By the time Arjin gets to Dax, he's clearly had a lot of work behind him and may very well feel he has earned a bit of arrogance.

    He does come across as unlikeable, and honestly, he's not the only unjoined Trill that seems this way. I've always wondered if that was on purpose by the writers... a subtle way of saying the symbiotes really complete the person.
     
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  14. LadyMondegreen

    LadyMondegreen Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    Arjin did come off as definitely not prepared for what joining brings, but I wish the episode had articulated a little more clearly what the "right" reason to become joined really is -- what is there, really, that you can accomplish as a joined Trill that you can't accomplish without the symbiont, particularly if you're not able to choose the symbiont you'll be joined with? I can see how, for example, someone with a passion for astrophysics might have a genuine case for joining with a symbiont that has a history of scientific greatness, but in general? Jadzia told her story of being rejected and coming back to the program with a new passion, but I still feel like I don't get what made that change significant. Is it just being passionate about...anything?
     
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  15. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Right, right...

    Perhaps the big contrast, then, is that we never get the sense that Rurigan is really using his holovillage to escape reality. Maybe it's not really the -best- thing for him mentally, but he's not actively avoiding people who want or need him in their lives either.
     
  16. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I don't recall finding Arjin unlikeable...at least not any more unlikeable than most people his age and in his circumstances. I always wondered what became of him after this episode.
     
  17. ananta

    ananta Captain Captain

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    Great points. The more I think about it, the more I’d love to have seen more exploration of Trill society. What we’ve seen almost points to joined Trill as being a class above the non-joined. Certainly, Verad and, now, Arjin were desperate to be joined, as though they’re not happy in their own skin and believe being joined will confer greater status and greater happiness. It may have been interesting to see some kind of class war emerge.

    I’m rewatching one of my other favourite series, The Legend of Korra, and its first season featured an uprising against Benders (those with an innate ability to wield the elements). These self-proclaimed Equalists were rallying against a perceived injustice in society, where they saw non-Benders as marginalised second class citizens. I can certainly imagine similar things happening on the Trill homeworld at some point.
     
  18. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

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    The tension between the joined and non-joined becomes a significant factor in one of the "Worlds of DS9" books focused on the Trill homeworld, and I believe factors into some of the comics as well.
     
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  19. Bad Thoughts

    Bad Thoughts Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    The initiates are grad students.
     
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  20. dupersuper

    dupersuper Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I like to think they used the wormhole to shunt it into an empty subspace layer into which it can expand. It fits with established treknobabble and isn't as unbelievably stupid as just leaving it on the other side of the galaxy to deal with in the future or by some one else, as they state.
     
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