My DS9 Rewatch Odyssey

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

  1. frankieteardrop

    frankieteardrop Commander Red Shirt

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    Something I find interesting is that the one throughline in each of the three stories Garak tells Bashir is that they all end with him committing the ultimate Cardassian taboo: putting his needs and feelings above that of Cardassia's. Given what we know about Garak and how he operates, it's more than fair to assume these stories are entirely fabrication, but I like to think this is Garak's way of covertly sharing something real with Bashir; a genuine window into the more sentimental side of Garak that Tain did everything he could to choke out, a glimpse of the person Garak might be at his core, beneath all of the abuse, indoctrination and rigorous conditioning of Tain and the Order.
     
  2. frankieteardrop

    frankieteardrop Commander Red Shirt

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    "The Wire" is one of my favorite DS9 episodes. It delivers on drama, intrigue and suspense, it's got a hell of a tour de force performance from Robinson (possibly a career best?), it marks a major turning point in Garak and Bashir's complicated friendship (and reads like a live-action hurt/comfort fanfic if you're wearing your shipping goggles) and crucially, it offers a significant glimpse into the Obsidian Order and Garak's relationship with Enabran Tain.

    Beyond that, the episode holds special significance to me for the way it very frankly (and sympathetically) addresses issues of addiction and depression. I've lost several friends to drugs and suicide and have been in Bashir's position too many times. It's agony and it never gets easier. Robert Hewitt Wolfe's writing along with the two central performances capture the painful nuances of these situations so well.
     
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  3. ananta

    ananta Captain Captain

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    Nicely put, Frankie. It could be I’m being too hard on Garak here. Like all of us, he’s in large part a product of his environment and upbringing, and come to think of it there’s something quite tragic about his continual need for Tain’s validation. I look forward to watching the rest of this arc unfold because I’m a little hazy on details.
     
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  4. ananta

    ananta Captain Captain

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    I’m sorry to hear that. I’ve been fortunate in that I haven’t been in that position so I can’t imagine how painful it must be to be on either side of that. I can understand how this episode would be a powerful mirror for going through such a horrendous time.
     
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  5. Bad Thoughts

    Bad Thoughts Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I believe that Behr's complaint was that it was insulting to someone who was not only on staff, but a producer on the show. In this case, as was in the case of First Duty, the writer was someone responsible for the entire series, and his input automatically would effect all efforts related to the series. Yet he had to share credits with Berman and Taylor, who may have had zero input into the story. Similarly, Moore and Nankar were the writers who created Nicholas Loccarno, no some outside writers. There is probably a good chance that any writer's contract stipulates that they are surrendering their ownership of the ideas and characters in order to write for the series (though I could be wrong).

    I think that Behr's outlook is more appropriate. From the third season on, the number of writers who contributed to individual episodes tends to decrease. I think there were benefits, for instance, of not having credited RDM on In The Pale Moonlight, getting his pay and credit through his role as a producer. The attitude that the writers-producers are implicitly contributing to every story may allow for what few crossovers we had. Imagine what Message in a Bottle or Extreme Risk would have looked like if the Voyager staff feared Fields, Crocker and Wolfe would come looking for story credits.
     
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  6. Farscape One

    Farscape One Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    "THE WIRE" was an excellent episode. The performances, the writing, the worldbuilding. Damn near flawless.

    This episode is exactly why Garak is one of best characters in the franchise... possibly in the entire genre. Even by the end of the series, there's so much about him that's still an enigma, despite piecing together so much already.

    "Of all the stories you told me, which ones were true and which ones weren't?"
    "My dear Doctor, they're all true."
    "Even the lies?"
    "Especially the lies."

    This is exactly why we love Garak.
     
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  7. ananta

    ananta Captain Captain

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    Definitely a strong episode, although I knew everyone else would probably rate it higher than me. Many consider it a classic, for me there’s just something missing that robs it of classic status...and I’m not even sure what. But everyone is different. Everyone here seemed to dislike the gem that is “Progress” so we’re even! ;)

    But he’s not someone you’d want to know in real life, though... unless you love liars? I’d be steering WELL clear of the guy, that’s for sure!
     
  8. kkt

    kkt Commodore Commodore

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    Just for the record, I don't dislike "Progress". I think it's among the best couple of dozen episodes.
     
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  9. ananta

    ananta Captain Captain

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    Aww I’m glad I’m not alone. I was kidding really but I was surprised when I saw that not everyone liked it as much as I did. I still find it such a heartfelt, touching episode.
     
  10. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Mullibok needed to be on the receiving end of a phaser set to stun. :p
     
  11. dupersuper

    dupersuper Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Well...

     
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  12. Farscape One

    Farscape One Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    "PROGRESS" is an excellent episode, but it was one person on a giant moon. It was even more egregious than the Maquis situation.
     
  13. amp

    amp Commander Red Shirt

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    There were a others living on that moon who had been evacuated by the time Kira arrived. (And not to nitpick but there were three people left, not just the one.)
     
  14. Farscape One

    Farscape One Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    My point still stands. Only 3 people on such a large area.
     
  15. Bad Thoughts

    Bad Thoughts Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Garak's stories are the repetetive epic. Whatever details are different, the story is always the same.

    ETA: I think it is very typically DS9 that the opening scene will reveal what narrative tools the episode will be employing to tell its story. The best example, IMO, is the conversation between Bashir, O'Brien and Worf about heroism.
     
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  16. ananta

    ananta Captain Captain

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    “CROSSOVER”

    [​IMG]
    “Oh Nerys, you’re so fine, you’re so fine you blow my mind.”

    Following a run of strong but fairly heavy episodes, “Crossover” (although a dark story in itself) is a welcome and refreshing change of tone and pace. It serves as an unexpected sequel to one of the best and most beloved episodes of TOS; the iconic “Mirror, Mirror”. Unfortunately, over the years the writers would tap this particular well a few too many times and it would be a case of diminishing returns if ever there was. But I have to say I found DS9’s first trip to the Mirror Universe one of the most downright beginning-to-end entertaining episodes of the season. Oh, it’s pure Flash Gordon pulp and, as is usually the case with ‘alternate universe’ stories, it doesn’t stand much logical scrutiny, but it’s still a delight in all its cartoonish glory.

    The greatest thing about these Mirror Universe episodes are invariably the performances. The cast revel in the opportunity to play twisted alternate versions of their characters and they rise to the challenge beautifully. Without doubt, this is Nana Visitor’s episode and she’s spectacular as the Intendant; a malignant narcissist who has absolutely no qualms about who she has to exploit, manipulate or kill. It’s an utterly scene-stealing performance, and she creates one of the series’ most iconic villains (even if familiarity would perhaps breed contempt later down the line). Avery Brooks is almost as good and seems to be in his element as the roguish, menacing and somewhat unhinged playboy Sisko. Brooks is an actor with incredible screen presence, and even when he’s saying very little he has a way of commanding the stage. Also having a ball is Rene Auberjonois as the utterly sadistic nightmare-version of Odo (and the optical effect when he gets shot is one of my favourite effects in the entire series—it’s almost like a changeling water balloon exploding!). Andrew Robinson hams it up superbly as the Intendant’s the ambitious and frustrated subordinate, while Armin Shimmerman and Colm Meaney give effective turns as very much beaten-down versions of their characters, which really helps sell the terrible predicament the oppressed Terrans and their allies are in.

    “Crossover” boasts a good script and excellent, pacey directing by David Livingston, who has a strong eye for visual detail. Special mention must also to go to the sets and cinematography. As with “Necessary Evil”, it’s amazing how a set redress and different lightning can create a completely different environment and atmosphere. The lighting is particularly effective, with the rich primary hues beautifully recalling the vibrant colour palette of TOS cinematographer Jerry Finnerman. With only minimal modifications, these familiar sets become a stark and unsettling environment, with the ore processing centre seeming particularly hellish.

    All in all, I enjoyed this a lot, and liked seeing Kira and Bashir sowing the seeds of rebellion, much as Kirk did in the original episode (although, sadly, that didn’t turn out quite so well for the Terrans in the long run). Personally, I almost wish this had remained a standalone episode, but I guess the temptation was too much for the writers who were keen to try to recapture the magic. One niggle in the episode’s closing line: how would Kira be familiar with the term “through the looking glass”? It seems incongruous that she’d be familiar with the books of Lewis Carroll yet not know a historical figure like James Kirk. It would have made more sense if the line has been spoken by Bashir, but that’s a minor complaint. Rating: 8
     
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  17. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I like this episode, and I find the next two MU episodes decent enough, but it does feel like the quality slips with each succeeding installment, sadly.

    One of my favorite shots of the episode is the runabout fleeing Terok Nor, with Bajor and the station receding behind it.

    I also like what the novels ended up doing with the MU, especially regarding MU Spock, who ultimately epitomized the philosophy of losing the battle to win the war.

    One of the DS9 novels also explores the MU to some degree and raises a radical yet intriguing theory regarding Odo.
     
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  18. LadyMondegreen

    LadyMondegreen Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    Brooks really plays Sisko like he's one second from snapping at any given moment, so unhinged Mirror Sisko certainly feels like it tracks. By the same token, Mirror Kira's carefree, faux-friendly persona matches pretty well with, for example, how she tends to speak to Quark when she's angry with him. I think they did a good job playing with aspects of the characters' usual personalities here.

    Also, Mirror Kira is hot. There, I said it.
     
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  19. Farscape One

    Farscape One Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I always thought it possible Bashir told Kira about that reference as they were escaping in the runabout, and she just parroted what he said.

    I heard that Andrew Robinson never cared for this version of Garak, but he was still a delight to watch.

    Regarding him, I always thought this version of Garak would be the same as our universe if he grew up in the Cardassian military rather than the Obsidian Order. He's cagey here, but definitely not as smart as our Garak, and I can see this simply being a difference in how he was brought up. The military mind might have stifled his abilities somewhat, while working as a spy greatly broadened and enhanced his abilities.

    I do agree this was the strongest of the mirror universe ones. But "SHATTERED MIRROR" gets a special place in my heart for giving us some of the best action scenes of the Defiant.
     
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  20. Bad Thoughts

    Bad Thoughts Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    This is the strength of the episode, which I believe is after the original Mirror, Mirror, the best use ofthe mirror universe trope. The trope is generally a means of showing who are characters might be if one essential aspects of their personalities would be changed, not to show their evil selves. In the TOS episode, the mirror characters are all duty bound and professionally oriented, except that duty is imperialism and professionalism involves a bloody hierarchy. Mirror Spock, in particular, is still recognizably Spock despite promulgating assassination as a means of enforcing the chain of command. Although Crossover isn't better than Mirror, Mirror, having Kira confront her mirror self had she grown up with the means to become powerful: indulgent and hedonistic. Nana Visitor has even called the Intendant the unrestrained version of both Kira and herself. Although it's not made explicit, I think the episode critiques that aspect of Bajoran politics that wanted Bajor to become a power player in the quadrant independently of the Federation. It is present in the Circle, in Winn's outlook, in the anti-Federation movements that are often mentioned, in the behind the scenes alliances with Cardassians, and even in the manipulations of the PahWraiths.
     
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