My DS9 Rewatch Odyssey

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

  1. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I think one thing this episode suffers from is that it lays the groundwork for some interesting Trill development...but it pulls a TNG because we're never going to see the Trill homeworld again(?) becaue it's not central to the story of DS9.

    Happily, there's a quie good novella that deals with many of the things raised in this episode. I'm not clear on whether DISCO acknowledges or disregards it as I haven't seen S3 yet.
     
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  2. Bad Thoughts

    Bad Thoughts Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Spoiler territory. I don't think the 6 month embargo is over yet.
    @ananta , you probably should remove specific information that is in Discovery as well. The only public information is that Disco Season 3 had a Trill character. It was not even revealed if he was joined.
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2021
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  3. Bad Thoughts

    Bad Thoughts Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Two more quick points about this episode:
    • There are some great character moments in the episode. Obviously, the sleepover scene that ananta pointed out is stellar. The interactions between Brooks and Farrell is excellent, as well as Visitor and Auberjonois.
    • The episode has a very dated feel scientifically. This type of "memory recovery" is, IIANM, not part of mainstream practice in psychology and psychiatry. The episode definitely comes from an era that is still under the influence of psychanalysis.
     
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  4. ananta

    ananta Captain Captain

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    I never thought of that, it somehow feels so much longer than 6 months ago since DSC season 3 premiered. I’ve removed the reference.

    I absolutely love just about any scene between Brooks and Farrell; they have such a nice chemistry together and really sell the fact they have a bond that transcends lifetimes. It’s definitely an underrated relationship on the show.
     
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  5. kkt

    kkt Commodore Commodore

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    At least in the early seasons, it seems like it took Brooks to get a good performance out of Farrell.
     
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  6. ananta

    ananta Captain Captain

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    “SECOND SKIN”

    [​IMG]
    Bad hair day, bad face day...we’ve all been there, Nerys.

    Here we have a powerhouse episode with a complete tour de force performance by Nana Visitor as Kira endures her ultimate nightmare: what if she was actually one of the hated enemies she’d spent entire her life fighting to overcome?

    Despite some superficial similarities to TNG’s “Face of the Enemy”, this is a more powerful and personal episode, marked by the strong performances of not only Visitor, but also great guest turns by Lawrence Pressman as Ghemor (one of the most likeable and sympathetic Cardassians we’ve yet encountered) and Gregory Sierra, who makes an impression as Obsidian Order operative Entek. Plus, special mention has to go to Andrew Robinson, who delivers one of Garak’s most engaging and fun appearances yet. While the character’s earlier appearances in the series were largely restricted to Bashir, it’s wonderful to finally see Garak interact with the rest of the crew, particularly Sisko and Odo.

    The stages of Kira’s grief are beautifully written and performed as we see her go through the full gamut of emotion, from shock, anger and resolve to the greatest of despair. It’s a thoroughly absorbing episode from beginning to end, and the plot keeps us guessing up until the end.

    Unfortunately, I do have some issues with the ending. While I loved Entek’s plot to expose Ghemor as a dissident by forcing him to get Kira/Illiana off Cardassia, it is admittedly one of the most needlessly convoluted plots in all of space and time. I’m still perplexed by the fact that Illiana just happened to be an exact duplicate of Kira right down to her voice (was this all just coincidence or was it by design? Did they Obsidian Order know about Kira? This is never answered). The implication is that there’s still a doppelgänger of Kira on Bajor—only, given Kira’s position as a prominent public figure, you have to assume hers is a face that would be widely recognised across Bajor. How does the lookie-likie Illiana operative explain that to people? And why is she still on Bajor now that the Occupation is over and the Resistance obsolete? Why didn’t the Order recall her? It raises so many questions.

    Wouldn’t it have made more sense for Entek to have simply surgically altered one of his current operatives, preferably one with good acting skills, to impersonate Illiana and expose Ghemor? Given how great they are at surgical alteration, that wouldn’t have been much of a challenge, and it would have meant Entek would have been in far greater control of the situation and wouldn’t have had to contend with a rescue operation by Sisko.

    Looking back, it also makes Ghemor seem fairly dumb. I mean, it’s fair enough you do get doppelgängers—but, honestly, if you met someone who looked identical to a close family member, you’d surely still KNOW it wasn’t them. A million little things would have given it away. I guess you could argue that Ghemor was blinded because he wanted it to be Illiana, but it still strains credulity.

    But, you know what—? When an episode is this strong in execution, it’s much easier to overlook contrivances. Everything is on point, from the script to the stellar performances and even the directing and music are above par. Composer David Bell makes his debut here, and while some might consider him a one-trick pony (it did, admittedly, often sound like he was reusing the same score over and over again), his music at least has teeth and nicely adds to the tension and emotion. If you can suspend disbelief a little, definitely a solid episode, and an important part of Kira’s arc. Rating: 9
     
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  7. ananta

    ananta Captain Captain

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    Brooks gets a lot of criticism for his acting, and I find most of it unfair. It was interesting hearing Aron Eisenberg in the documentary say how it was Avery’s intense performance in “Heart of Stone” that really pushed him to deliver what was probably his own finest performance on DS9. Brooks has an intensity and presence that would no doubt encourage whoever he’s acting opposite to step up and match it.
     
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  8. Bad Thoughts

    Bad Thoughts Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Another episode of f'ed up memories.
     
  9. Farscape One

    Farscape One Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Given how great at mind games the Obsidian Order is, I can suspend a lot disbelief with this episode. As Entek said, "Is there anything I've said that is beyond the abilities of the Obsidian Order?" He's right.

    This is precisely the difference I feel with our Garak and Mirror Universe Garak. Ours was with the Order, so he got a vast amount of training in creative thinking and subterfuge. With the MU version, he seemed to simply be part of the military, who is much more rigid and not quite as imaginative.

    Speaking of Garak, he always shines when he appears. He seems to have no end of knowledge or abilities.

    Ghemor was a great Cardassian. You really feel for him and his plight of not seeing his daughter. And I loved his 'fatherly advice' to Kira at the end regarding Garak.

    This was another big step in Kira's arc of forgiveness. Absolutely brilliant acting on Nana's part, especially considering she's claustrophobic and it was very hard for her with the Cardassian makeup on. Two big thumbs up for her.
     
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  10. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Is this the last time we see Garak directly kill someone? It is a good rebuttal to the "Garak doesn't just vaporize people" argument, though at least in this case they're not on DS9 when it happens.

    I love this episode, and the novelverse goes into the goings-on leading up to and resulting from the events of this episode in ways I find compelling and horrifying as it answers several of the questions raised, chief among them, "Will the real Iliana Ghemor please stand up?"

    Sorry, I had to...
     
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  11. Farscape One

    Farscape One Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    No, we have seen Garak directly kill in "THE WAY OF THE WARRIOR" while in thr corridor with Dukat.

    Also in "EMPOK NOR", "ROCKS AND SHOALS", and "WHAT YOU LEAVE BEHIND" where he killed the last Weyoun.
     
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  12. Bad Thoughts

    Bad Thoughts Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    But none of those times is he killing solely by his own volition. He is doing so in the course of a duty or as part of his belonging to a group or under the influence.

    Conversely, the assassinations in Pale Moonlight are entirely by his design and will; we just don't see them.
     
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  13. Farscape One

    Farscape One Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I would say Garak killed Weyoun because he felt like it. Weyoun was clearly not a threat to him, Odo, Kira, and that other Cardassian. Garak definitely enjoyed killing him, so I say it was of his own volition.
     
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  14. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I'd say he was motivated by vengeance for his people in that case.

    With regards to Entek and Gul ProfitandLoss, it just feels a bit more capricious to me, though YMMV.
     
  15. frankieteardrop

    frankieteardrop Commander Red Shirt

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    He also knifes a guy in the neck (presumably killing him) in either "The Dogs of War" or "What You Leave Behind" but my memory is foggy on which episode it is.

    Though I agree with Bad Thoughts: the killing we do see is usually practical or duty-based. "Empok Nor" is the big exception.
     
  16. ananta

    ananta Captain Captain

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    “THE ABANDONED”

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    “Damn, my hairstyle is clearly not at all trendy among my fellow Jem’Hadar...”

    In many ways “The Abandoned” is kind of the inverse of TNG’s “I, Borg”. Now, don’t get me wrong, I think “I, Borg” is a fantastic episode and a great piece of Trek, but it does effectively neuter the Borg in what was only their third appearance in the series. It really wasn’t until First Contact that they again presented any legitimate menace and then Voyager...well, let’s not digress. If “I, Borg” showed that even a race as utterly ruthless and lethal as the Borg could have a cute, fuzzy side, then “The Abandoned” does the opposite.

    Although it’s not for lack of Odo’s trying! The Constable takes a personal stake in the matter, feeling understandable remorse for what his people have done to Jem’Hadar—which is to say, programming them to be not people, but psychotic, drug-addicted killers. Odo seems desperate to prove to the boy (who, tellingly, is never given a name in the episode) that he can choose a different path in life, but that, sadly, doesn’t end up being the case.

    It’s a bleak message but, nevertheless, a realistic one. If a person is predisposed to be a certain way with every fibre of their being, then how much free will do they actually have? Again, that’s a topic I don’t want to get into, but it does raise interesting questions (I find neuroscience fascinating, and some neuroscientists actually do claim that free will is an illusion, for experiments have shown that the decisions we make are actually made before the mind consciously knows it). This episode isn’t a good fit with Trek’s optimistic view of life and people, and definitely won’t have appealed to the Gatekeepers out there, but, frankly, I don’t think it could have gone any other way. This is our first encounter with the Dominion since the season’s opening two-parter and if we saw a Jem’Hadar coming around with just a bit of a pep talk from Odo it would certainly have robbed them of their menace. Later in the series’ run, of course, we would see glimpses of “humanity” in the enemy, but it would definitely have been too soon at this point in the series.

    Overall, this is an engaging and entertaining hour and it kept my attention throughout. The episode structure does, however, feel a little...unpolished. While there’s a lot of good material here, there’s also a lack of focus, with the first half of the episode meandering with an extended mystery over the boy’s identity (and recalling another, less successful TNG episode: “The Child”). It’s not until around the halfway mark that the writers finally seem to decide what the story is about. This leads to a particularly rushed feeling— in the last act, in particular. The end result is just a tad unsatisfying, because after such a leisurely first half, the second skips to warp speed and then just abruptly...stops, literally mid-scene. I recently read, however, that during the first half of the third season the writers were struggling to get scripts in on time. It definitely seems that this is one script that would have benefited from another draft or two, with just bit of restructuring and tightening.

    That said, it’s still a keeper, and there are some wonderful moments throughout. I haven’t mentioned the Jake subplot, but it’s a gem, and possibly even more enjoyable than the main plot. It is kind of sitcom-fare, but it’s cute and feels authentic, and I hadn’t quite noticed before what a beautiful and infectious smile Cirroc Lofton has! Sisko/Jake material was always a highlight of the show, and this is no exception. Plus, Sisko’s scene in the Infirmary with the baby Jem’Hadar was adorable; who knew that tough, grumpy Sisko had such a sweet and tender side with kids? Rating: 7
     
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  17. dupersuper

    dupersuper Commodore Commodore

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    There's a 4 issue comic book mini series that basically shows a Trill civil war over stuff like this. I think it's called Divided We Fall.

    I mean, he's still hugging Jake twice an episode at this point...
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2021
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  18. ananta

    ananta Captain Captain

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    oh cool, I hadn’t heard of that, I’ll have to check that out, thank you.

    I know, but you can love your own kids and not be a baby or “kiddie person”. I know people who are great with their own kids but you’d never in a million years find them cooing over someone else’s baby or toddler. I guess what I liked about this is that Sisko is the anti-Picard in this respect.
     
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  19. ananta

    ananta Captain Captain

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    “CIVIL DEFENSE”

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    “If in doubt, get your phaser out.”

    If “Second Skin” was a better version of TNG’s “Face of the Enemy”, “Civil Defense” is a better version of “Disaster”. I actually enjoyed “Disaster”, for it had some great comic moments (particularly Worf delivering Molly O’Brien), but it always strikes me how little sense of tension that episode actually has. I find “Civil Defense” much more successful in that regard and it’s also fun throughout. There’s nothing particularly weighty about it, and it doesn’t even make the pretence of trying to get under the character’s skins, but that’s OK, and sometimes it’s refreshing just to put the brain into neutral and enjoy some good, unchallenging set pieces.

    The basic premise is a good one, although this episode would perhaps have been more at home in the first season, when the crew were still ‘taming’ the station and ironing out all the Cardassian bugs. I’m also not entirely sure Dukat’s elaborate counter-insurgency program makes much sense; why go to all the bother of creating and installing such a program when there were already Cardassians there running every aspect of the station? As we see here, this program had the potential to backfire on the Cardassians, as Dukat finds out much to his chagrin. I also found it slightly stretched credulity that Dukat would take time out of his busy day to record extensive messages for every stage of a program that in all likelihood never be used (and that his subordinate would get in on the act, as well). It would have made more sense if he’d simply programmed the computer to speak in his own voice—which, being the supreme narcissist he is, I can well imagine he’d have done anyway.

    Speaking of Dukat, Marc Alaimo’s performance is a high point of the episode, from his blatant hubris and glee at chancing upon the stricken station, which rapidly changes to “oh..shit...” when he realises he’s been snared in his own trap. Just priceless, and I also loved the bitter rivalry with Garak. It’s a pity we never got an episode with just the pair of them. I also enjoyed the Odo and Quark pairing, even if it doesn’t actually contribute to the plot in any way. It’s still fun, however, and it’s interesting to note that Odo’s attitude toward Quark almost has a slight, unspoken affection now. The episode is well paced and nicely directed, and I loved how basically everything the crew does only makes things worse and worse. I also got a kick out of the fact Kira’s response to pretty much every challenge is to pull out her phaser.

    Definitely a keeper; a thoroughly entertaining DS9 disaster movie with some great character beats, particularly in Ops. There’s one thing that completely and utterly drives me MAD about the last scene, however. As Quark and Odo leave security, it’s business as usual on the Promenade, with people casually strolling about, chatting, shopping and even sitting at Quark’s eating lunch. What on Earth...? Apart from having been stuck in a near-deadly automated lockdown, the station had just been rocked by an almighty explosion. It’s as though none of that had just happened. Those last few seconds really do bug me. Rating: 7
     
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  20. Farscape One

    Farscape One Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    "CIVIL DEFENSE" has always been a personal favorite.

    It keeps the tension throughout the entire episode and stakes just keep getting bigger without being unrealistic.

    I can actually see a program like this being a staple for all Cardassian stations. Regarding your point about there being a lot of Cardassians in it during the time this program was created, it's worth noting that Cardassians tend to look at every angle, especially cagey ones like Dukat and Garak. Bajorans getting the upper hand on Terok Nor is a very tiny possibility, but still is one. So I can see this being done without any suspension of disbelief.

    Interesting comparison to "Disaster". Not saying it isn't accurate, but I always compared this one to "The Arsenal of Freedom", which is another personal favorite. I think it is a better comparison due to the way the stakes are raised and how the tension keeps ramping up. Except for Wesley who does not appear at all, everyone got something meaty to do. It was a rare time when each character got solid scenes and was doing it brilliantly. This kind of full utilization of the entire cast is why both are always a rewatch for me if they appear on tv, and why they will always remain favorites.

    I agree that we should have gotten a full episode of Dukat and Garak. That would have been glorious.

    I think placing this in season 3 was perfect. It hammers home the point that Kira made to Bashir about 'home' being built by Cardassians. Just when you think you are safe... BAM! A counter-insurgency program gets turned on and is ready to gas you, choke you, vaporize you, or blow you up. At least you have a choice of deaths. :)
     
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