My DS9 Rewatch Odyssey

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

  1. Bad Thoughts

    Bad Thoughts Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    To be fair, the station seldom needed saving from imminent destruction like any of the Enterprises or Voyager. The only episodes that come to mind are Q-Less, If Wishes were Horses, Playing God, Civil Defense, Visionary, and Inferno's Light.
     
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  2. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Well, if the writers had wanted Jake and/or Nog to save the station, I imagine they would have. :p
     
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  3. ananta

    ananta Captain Captain

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    They did kinda save the day in a roundabout way in “In the Cards” (love that ep!). I appreciated the fact they felt like real, authentic kids as opposed to freakish geniuses. Much easier to relate to when I was watching the show at that age myself.
     
  4. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

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    That may be one of the best comedy episodes Trek has ever managed. Certainly one of the best DS9 comedy episodes, or perhaps episodes in general.

    "Cellular regeneration and entertainment chamber"
    "Soulless minions of orthodoxy"

    I wish I could come up with BS phrases like that. :)
     
  5. ananta

    ananta Captain Captain

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    “Vortex”

    [​IMG]
    He ain’t heavy, he’s my Miradorn twin.

    This is a strange episode, because I always tend to forget it even exists. It’s certainly not a bad one, and even has a fair bit to recommend in it, but ultimately it doesn’t leave much impact. I think you could indeed chalk this one up as ‘forgettable’.

    The late, great Rene Auberjonois was never less than compelling as the gruff, perpetually conflicted shapeshifting Constable, and this is the first time in the series that we really see his deep, driving desire to find his own people. Back at the time, I assumed that he’d either never find his people or it wouldn’t happen until the very end of the series. It’s interesting to watch in retrospect. I don’t think that, at this point, the writers had any real idea what direction they were going to take this story thread, nor how intrinsic Odo’s people would be to future storylines.

    I think for me, the real problem with this episode is its primary guest character. Cliff De Young does a decent job in the role, but I remember finding Croden...irritating, and I still do. For most the episode he’s not terribly sympathetic, because it’s clear that he’s full of lies and is blatantly manipulating Odo. Oh, and of course, he’s also a murderer, whether intentionally or not. Of course, toward the end of the episode we discover that he’s actually the victim of a terrible, oppressive state, and also a devoted father who would do anything to save his daughter. I liked the twist, but it doesn’t quite change the fact that for most the episode he was an annoying and somewhat unlikable character. Even his hair and makeup irritated me somehow.

    [​IMG]
    Talk about a punchable face!

    Ultimately, Croden’s ‘plan’ to save his daughter didn’t make a whole amount of sense. What was he even doing on DS9, and if he could get there in the first place, why did he need to get embroiled in Quark’s criminal scams in order to get back? And why all the lies and subterfuge? Why didn’t he just go to Sisko and ask for political asylum and help to save his daughter? I suppose you could argue that he’d been through such trauma that he maybe wasn’t capable of thinking straight. But when you start to think about it, the whole thing seems needlessly convoluted.

    Speaking of Quark, I liked that the sub-plot involving Quark and the Miradorn was deftly tied in with the main storyline. Randy Oglesby does a good job as the grieved and volatile Miradorn, who has a reasonably formidable presence throughout the episode, and Armin Shimmerman and Max Grodenchik are always good value. Also—nice special effects in the nebula, or ‘vortex’. We’ve barely left the station all season, so it’s a nice change to get off those now very familiar sets, even if it is simply into a runabout and generic Trek caves.

    Odo’s attitude toward Croden understandably softens by the end, and in what is something of a surprise move, he allows Croden to go free with his daughter. It would have been a pretty horrible ending if he’d sent Croden to his death of Rakhar, although he seems to forget that Croden still committed murder back on the station. So, ultimately, Odo lets a man get away with murder, just because he has a sweet daughter?

    Overall, this is isn’t a bad episode. It boasts a real ‘space Western’ vibe, as Roddenberry originally conceived for Star Trek. It is flawed, however, and ultimately feels a little less than the sum of its parts. For all the Garak-esque webs of lies that Croden spins, he’s neither interesting nor sympathetic enough a character for us to care much about him until the schmaltzy ending.

    I also deducted a point for the scene where Odo is knocked unconscious by a blow to the head. The whole point of the episode is that Odo is a changeling, so how come none of the writers or producers stopped to realise that Odo doesn’t have a brain, and therefore a blow to his ‘head’ wouldn’t render him unconscious as it would a ‘solid’? I’m normally quite good at suspending disbelief, but that really jarred.

    Rating: 6
     
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  6. ananta

    ananta Captain Captain

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    I agree, he was a hilariously absurd character. I kind of wish we’d seen him more than once. The writing was so fantastically quirky in that one.
     
  7. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I wonder whether Croden is -intentionally- a bit unlikeable, to break the mold of the person who needs assistance and has a heart of gold. It would be in keeping with the subversive nature of the series.

    Anyway, given that he fled an extremely oppressive government, I can't blame him for not trusting authority figures from other governments.
     
  8. kkt

    kkt Commodore Commodore

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    Murder, like most crimes, requires intention. If it was accidental, it might be negligence, but it's not murder.

    I would have liked seeing Croden again in a later episode.
     
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  9. ananta

    ananta Captain Captain

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    If not murder, it would probably be classified as manslaughter. He had a gun, set to kill, and he shot at someone. Also he instigated the conflict rather than solely acting out of self defence, so he would not likely get off the hook in any court of law.
     
  10. ananta

    ananta Captain Captain

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    Quite possibly. I can see why they kept him ambiguous for the sake of drama, even if his actions didn’t always make sense to me. You’d think he’d want Odo to trust him rather than coming across as an untrustworthy ass. But, again, it’s likely the guy has all kinds of PTSD.
     
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  11. Discofan

    Discofan Admiral Admiral

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    Keep them coming. You have an interesting perspective.:)
     
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  12. ananta

    ananta Captain Captain

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    Thanks Discofan, glad you liking it. I’m having fun watching and sharing my thoughts. Life is pretty difficult right now, I’m on treatment for advanced cancer, so it’s a nice distraction! Trek is pretty healing I think.
     
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  13. ananta

    ananta Captain Captain

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    “Battle Lines”

    [​IMG]
    You gotta be Kai-ing me?

    I always liked this one. At this point in the season it’s a blessed relief to have an episode that isn’t predominantly set on the station, even if it is merely transplanted to those generic 90’s Trek cave sets. It also provides some action, something the past half dozen episodes have largely lacked. What unfolds is, in all its unsubtle glory, a classic Trekkian anti-war morality tale. It strikes me this could actually have come straight from TOS—indeed, ‘Battle Lines’ feels rather like the love child of ‘Let That Be Your Last Battlefield’ and ‘Day of the Dove’.

    The concept of a war in which the combatants can never die is a neat one. After each skirmish, the battlefield is strewn with corpses that only a few hours later will stagger up looking as though they have no more than a raging hangover. Jonathan Banks does a great job as the Ennis leader, his mind and body convincingly grisly and broken down after years of endless conflict and burning hatred. There’s not a huge amount to these guys; it’s hard to even think of them as characters because they’re somewhat one-dimensional. But I think that’s half the point; that’s what war does to you. They don’t even remember what they’re fighting for. These crazy real-world times have demonstrated to me just how tribal human beings can be; that we’re not driven so much by rationality as we are by emotion and, in particular, by our anger and grievance. Where it can lead us—well, it’s not a pretty sight, as this episode demonstrates.

    There’s not much to the plot, really. I liked the science-fiction twist, although it stretches credulity if you stop to think about it too much. What if you dismember someone and spread their body parts all across the planet? How could they come back to life from that?

    Interestingly, Bashir twice raises the moral implications inherent in helping these people, and Sisko shoots him down on both occasions. It would seem the Commander is not particularly keen on his CMO at this point. Although Bashir actually ISN’T at all annoying in this episode. When focusing on his medical duties and not creeping on the opposite sex, he’s an engaging part of the cast. I liked Sisko in this episode; he doesn’t take shit, but he’s got a strong moral core and he commands the screen with his presence.

    The real emotional weight comes from Kira’s scenes with Kai Opaka (Incidentally, Discovery critics may complain about Burnham’s crying, but it ain’t got nothing on Kira here). This is the first time we see that Kira actually has a faith, and that she reveres the Kai and is very anxious about how Opaka perceives her. In many respects, this is a turning point for the character—the moment when she begins to acknowledge and start to heal the trauma that she’s been through. This would continue in ‘Progress’, ‘Duet’ and ‘In the Hands of the Prophets’, arguably the three finest episodes of the season. Opaka’s admission that maybe the Prophets are waiting for Kira to forgive herself is a poignant and relatable one.

    I have mixed feelings about the way the episode writes Opaka out of the series. Apparently the producers weren’t keen on Camille Saviola’s performance in ‘Emissary’, but I liked her. Let’s face it, they didn’t actually write Opaka as a character—she was more a plot device. But Saviola had presence and a nice, wry, earthy feeling to her performance. She reminds me a little of Miriam Margolyes. In some respects I think they could have done more with the character. They never really gave her a chance. I also wished they’d revisited the character at some point, and found something else to do with her. Leaving her behind on this hell-rock with these psychopathic shells of people was a rather nasty, strangely unsatisfying resolution for her. That said, her absence sets up a great amount of story for the rest of the series, and sets the stage for the brilliant Louise Fletcher and her iconic Kai Winn.

    The only really bad thing about this episode are the scenes on the runabout where Dax and O’Brien are searching for the missing runabout. The technobabble levels reach Voyager levels of awfulness, and are just sloppy writing. Colm Meaney is a trouper, but Terry Farrell admitted in an interview that she was so miserable at this point that she wanted them to fire her, and you can almost see it in her face. Plus, Dax is almost portrayed as the dumb broad in these scenes and O’Brien some kind of engineering genius (which is a stretch given that he spent 6 years on TNG just standing at a transporter console evidently doing jack all).

    I found this one kind of hard to rate, I wanted to give it an 8, but maybe a 7 is more like it. But it does feel the series is on an upward trajectory at this point (until I remember the next episode is ‘The Storyteller’ :crazy:)
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2021
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  14. Discofan

    Discofan Admiral Admiral

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    So sorry to hear that...
     
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  15. ananta

    ananta Captain Captain

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    Thanks. I’m determined to get better, 41 is too young to die, but just making the best of things also, I don’t take a single day for granted now :)
     
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  16. ananta

    ananta Captain Captain

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    “The Storyteller”

    [​IMG]

    “I didn’t say it made any sense!” - O’Brien sums up the episode perfectly

    Geez, what the heck are you supposed to make of this one?

    I’ll start with the B-plot, because it’s by far the best part of the episode, even though there’s not a whole amount to it. It’s good to see some acknowledgement of the continued conflict and unrest on Bajor, which is only realistic given what it’s been through. It was kinda fun seeing a leader who was little more than a child actually getting to behave like a child, courtesy of Jake and Nog, who continue to be an engaging double act. In fact, their pairing is a charming, low-key highlight of the season, which surprised no one more than myself given how terrible kids used to be on Star Trek. It’s really worth the price of admission for the scene with Odo’s bucket and the oatmeal alone. It’s totally goofy but infectiously fun.

    The main storyline, however is just plain goofy. It’s apparently based on an unused story idea from TNG’s first season. How they can have been so desperate for ideas a mere half dozen episodes into DS9’s run, I have no idea.

    In all honesty, I found this even dumber than ‘Move Along Home’. First of all, this is the first time we go to Bajor since the pilot, and it would have been a great opportunity to get some insight into Bajoran culture. What a missed opportunity! Really, this episode would have worked better had it been set on some unknown planet of the week and NOT Bajor. These villagers are portrayed as primitive simpletons, and it’s hard to reconcile what we see here with what we know of Bajor. I’m usually a big critic of technobabble, but at least some explanation of what the Dalrock was and how the villagers managed to defeat it with their minds may have given this a sense of grounding in reality. It comes across as pure fantasy, and dumb fantasy at that. Begging dozens of unanswered questions, the nonsensical plot feels like a strange aberration, and one best forgotten. There’s also the fact that the core of the story is basically the same as ‘The Nagus’ a mere handful of episodes ago, only with O’Brien in the position of Quark.

    What does elevate the episode is the sparky interplay between O’Brien and Bashir, and the start of what would become one of Trek’s all-time best bromances. In fact, it’s fun seeing O’Brien squirm in awkwardness throughout. His chuckle as he thinks he’s gotten off the hook by making Hovath the Storyteller is particularly funny.

    Have to say though, I don’t recall O’Brien being as grumpy and ill-tempered when he was on TNG? He’s really become a sourpuss since relocating to DS9, and he certainly isn’t alone: Odo, Sisko and Kira are all pretty grumpy at this point in the series. I’m glad to say, at least, that Bashir has gone from being insufferably irritating to quite entertaining as the writers embrace his tendency to be annoying. He’s clearly relishing O’Brien’s uncomfortableness throughout, and it is perversely amusing.

    Overall though, a pretty dire episode. The sub-plot and the comedic interplay between O’Brien and Bashir keep it watchable, but the main storyline is a total write-off and no doubt wasted what was probably pretty much the entire SFX budget for the rest of the season. Rating: 4
     
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  17. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

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    It's interesting to me that both this episode and "Battle Lines" get revisited in the novelverse in ways that make them feel more significant than was likely ever intended at the time the episodes were written.
     
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  18. dupersuper

    dupersuper Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Which novel revisits this one? That's brave...
     
  19. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

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    IIRC, "The Soul Key" reveals that the gem involved in 'The Storyteller' is an orb fragment. Iliana Ghemor ransacks the village to find the gem and takes the Storyteller himself hostage.
     
  20. Discofan

    Discofan Admiral Admiral

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    Isn't she dead?


    Isn't it fortunate BTW? I mean they found a Cardassian that was Kira's perfect interspecies twin, so much so that even her father couldn't tell them apart... I mean when you get celebrities "lookalikes" there are always obvious differences, even for the best ones...
     
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