My DS9 Rewatch Odyssey

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

  1. ananta

    ananta Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2020
    “BAR ASSOCIATION”

    [​IMG]
    “Didn’t anyone ever warn you that oo-mox will make you deaf?!”

    What’s this—another winner? Back when I first watched the series I think this one passed me by just a little. I liked it, but I don’t think I fully appreciated it as I do now. It has all the trappings of a standard Ferengi comedy, except for one thing—it’s not actually that funny. In fact, there are actually probably more laughs from the sub-plot than from the Ferengi hi-jinks. The reason for this is simple. It’s not actually a comedy. It’s a drama, and a very nice little drama, too.

    Watching the series in retrospect and knowing where things will end up actually makes me appreciate certain things even more than I did back at the time. The Ferengi have a neat little arc throughout the series; one that sees their society’s core values and codes of conduct come into question at both an individual and, latterly, a collective level. “Bar Association” is a pivotal part of that arc.

    Nog was the first Ferengi character we saw openly question and defy Ferengi custom and tradition by turning his back on Ferengi life altogether and enlisting to join Starfleet Academy. While Quark is disgusted and fears for the very future of Ferengi society, Rom is incredibly proud and, for the first time possibly ever, actually musters the courage to stand up to Quark. Little did Quark know that this would open a floodgate. “Bar Association” sees Rom finally able to stand up for himself and, not just that, but to blatantly defy Ferengi business practice. The very word “union” is heretical to Ferengi, and there’s an immediate backlash in the form of Liquidator Brunt, who is surprisingly menacing in this, his second appearance in the series. The orthodoxy does not like being challenged and it rightly fears that even the slightest dissent might have far-reaching consequences. The Ferengi revolution begins here (although it did have its seeds in Nog’s entry to Starfleet and Moogie herself, Ishka, whose radical streak doubtlessly had an influence on Rom and Quark’s upbringing, even if the latter is still unprepared to admit that).

    Ira Behr and Robert Wolfe’s script is a good one, and Max Grodenchik does a nice job carrying the show, delivering a performance that’s infectiously enthusiastic, earnest, and, this being Rom, at times just a tad grating. It’s rather wonderful seeing the beleaguered barman capitalise on his newfound confidence and, realising that he operates best when he’s not around Quark, accept a job that utilises his engineering skills. N’awww; I’m with Leeta: I’m proud of him. Armin Shimmerman is on top form as always, with Quark steadfastly resisting any threat to the status quo and the values he unwaveringly lives his life by. Things are gradually changing for Quark, though—he genuinely wants to protect his brother and before long we’ll see Quark openly question his sacrosanct values (“Body Parts”). It’s a gradual, subtle arc as Quark slowly, grudgingly begins to shift from being a “good Ferengi” to a more open-minded, and open-hearted individual across the seasons. I’m really enjoying watching this unfold.

    While not a comedy as such, there are some fun moments scattered throughout, particularly Quark’s disastrous and gloriously surreal use of holographic waiters, and there are some amusing scenes with Miles, Julian and Worf who, rather inexplicably, end up in a brawl at Quark’s. The Worf sub-plot, which sees him continue to struggle with the disorderly environment of the station, is nicely executed and, contrary to how the Commander may feel, it made me realise just how well the character has settled into the series. Perhaps the comedic highlight of the episode for me was Worf complaining to Odo about the security lapses on the station and Odo immediately grabbing a PADD and rattling off a list he’d compiled of security fuck-ups on the Enterprise (beginning with the events of “Rascals” and continuing with “A Matter of Time”). The way Worf promptly shuts up is hilarious. I loved that scene.

    Overall, a very strong episode. It’s intelligently and perceptively written and features some delightful character growth. The performances are strong and LeVar Burton does a nice job directing. I’d definitely rate this one of the finest Ferengi episodes. Rating: 8
     
    FanST, Cyfa, DonIago and 2 others like this.
  2. ananta

    ananta Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2020
    Good points! Upon reflecting and reading your and Bad Thoughts’ comments, I realise it probably wasn’t necessary to feature a scene between Worf and Bashir discussing the ethics of the procedure. I think we can assume that happened and it wasn’t just a case of “Yeah, whatever, I’ll schedule him in for a quick mind-wipe after lunch.” Besides, at this stage they really didn’t have many choices; what other way could they actually save Kurn’s life?

    I totally forgot about Worf joining the House of Martok rather than restoring the House of Mogh. Been a while since I’ve rewatched the show.

    Awesome little video, I like it !
     
    FanST and kkt like this.
  3. Vash

    Vash Lieutenant Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2009
    Another fine review. It's always a pleasure to read these.
    It was more fun to revisit this episode than I expected-- serious issues at heart, but comedic moments throughout. Quark’s holographic waiters --Odo reading the list of thefts on the Enterprise - Worf, Bashir and O’Brien in the holding cell after the bar “brawl” --the 2 Nausicaans throwing darts at each other. Loved how O’Brien inspires Rom to be a heroic union leader with both Irish and American legends. Very satisfying to see Rom stand up to his brother, even to Brunt and the FCA, AND take a much more fitting engineering job…a lot of personal growth. OTOH, Worf seems to be regressing - isolating himself on the Defiant, removing the mattress so his bed will be more Klingon / Stoic. Enjoyed the tentative connections between Worf / Jadzia…and Rom / Leeta.

    In reality, Shimerman was definitely on the side of labor - on the board of directors for the Screen Actors Guild.
     
    FanST, kkt, DonIago and 2 others like this.
  4. Farscape One

    Farscape One Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2017
    Great review! I actually have nothing to add.

    Except for your picture... it made me laugh even harder because Rom got that infection precisely because of too much oo-mox... self oo-mox. Possibly the most perfect match of episode picture and caption to reality of what the episode had that you've ever done. :techman::techman::hugegrin::hugegrin:
     
    ananta, FanST and kkt like this.
  5. Swedish Borg

    Swedish Borg Fleet Captain Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2021
    Great review and I too like this episode a lot.

    I'd like to add that before this episode I would never have imagined ever hearing a Ferengi quote Karl Marx and from The Communist Manifesto at that!!!;)

    Especially Rom who until then was more suited to quote from Groucho Marx.:lol:
     
    ananta, FanST and kkt like this.
  6. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2001
    Location:
    Burlington, VT, USA
    I really enjoy the episode, and it is a hoot seeing Odo reference events we saw on TNG that don't exactly paint Worf as the most competent security chief ever.
     
  7. ananta

    ananta Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2020
    “ACCESSION”

    [​IMG]
    "...and be sure to tell my successor I think she's a dick."

    I’m grateful that in spite of an executive mandate to avoid Bajor-focused episodes the writers still managed to slip the odd Bajor episode through, and “Accession” is a good one, albeit not without some issues. This is the second of what I consider a trilogy of one-word titled “Emissary” episodes, which began last season with “Destiny” and will conclude with season five’s “Rapture”. This arc sees Sisko move from reluctance and hesitancy to gradually accepting and embracing his iconic position in Bajoran spiritual life. This was something quite radical for Star Trek, which had hitherto been (at times aggressively) opposed to religion and spirituality. Once again, then, DS9 truly is bolding going where no one has gone before, at least in the Trek franchise. I, personally, greatly appreciate that DS9 was eager and willing to explore the important role that spirituality can play in people’s lives even if, as we see here, there are inherent dangers when it comes to fundamentalism of any kind.

    The concept is a good one: the wormhole spits out some Bajoran dude who proclaims himself the Emissary. As with many things in life, you often don’t know what you’ve got until you lose it, and that’s very much the case with Sisko and his role as Emissary. His initial relief at no longer being Emissary soon turns to dismay as it becomes clear that Akorem has some slightly regressive and hard-line tendencies.

    I like this episode a great deal and I always have. It’s mature and thought-provoking, boasting some solid writing and some fine performances. Richard Libertini is a low-key triumph as Akorem and I especially appreciate that he’s not portrayed as an obvious villain (as perhaps Kai Winn often is). Indeed, he’s a frequently unassuming chap who truly seems to believe he’s helping Bajor get back on the track following the brutal occupation.

    If there’s a problem with the episode it’s that too much happens over the space of forty minutes. Ideally, this storyline would have taken place over multiple episodes; at the very least a two-parter, although today’s serialised approach to storytelling would work much better with a story like this. Things needed to unfold a little slower in reality, from Akorem’s arrival, to the profound change he initiates at the heart of Bajoran society, to the eventual chaos and unrest. As it is, things do feel a little rushed and it ends up making the Bajorans seem extremely naive and gormless. I mean, imagine if, say, the Pope initiated a profound and radical change to the very fabric of Catholic life. I imagine there would inevitably be doubt, consternation and opposition even among the devout. There should have been much more conflict, and one has to wonder what Winn was up to during the whole fiasco, and why the Emissary now seems to wield as much, if not more, power than the Kai.

    Unfortunately, it’s not a great episode for Kira, who, sadly, hasn’t had a particularly strong episode all season (I felt her team-ups with Dukat somewhat sidelined her to support role). She comes across as blindly naive and her supposition that if you have faith “no explanation is necessary” doesn’t quite cut it for me. Don’t get me wrong, I love that we have a main character with such a strong faith, but her resolution to do what Akorem says regardless of the absurdity, displays a tremendous lack of agency on her part. I’d rather have explored why her faith is so important to her and seen her come to the realisation that blind faith is actually a dangerous thing. Instead, she seems absolutely content to go along with whoever the Emissary of the moment happens to be and do whatever they want, no questions asked. That said, I loved the scenes between Sisko and Kira, which is a relationship I’ve always enjoyed, and the moment where Sisko reluctantly accepts Kira’s resignation packs a fair emotional punch (both Visitor and are wonderful).

    Indeed, any issues I have with “Accession” are generally not with what’s on screen, but with what with might have been on screen. As a whole, I found it a thoroughly engaging, thought-provoking and intelligent episode. I love that both Akorem and Vedek Porta, who actually goes as far as to commit murder, aren’t moustache-twirling villains, and their actions certainly underscore the ‘banality of evil’. Finally, the use of the Prophets as having a more active involvement in Bajoran affairs isn’t something some people appreciate, but I found compelling and their fascinating declaration that Sisko is "of Bajor” left me speculating for a long time afterward. It's also great to see Camille Saviola in a brief, final cameo as an Opaka-Prophet.

    Finally, the sub-plot is an absolute delight. It's nice to see Keiko back and, for the first time in what seems like ages, she’s actually happy and upbeat and clearly loving her job in spite of the distance it’s caused between she and Miles. My favourite moment was Worf’s horrified reaction upon learning that Keiko was going to have another baby (“NOW?!”), a wonderful callback to the birth of Molly on TNG. The way Keiko brings Miles and Julian back together is really rather adorable. Rating: 8
     
    Last edited: May 3, 2021 at 8:26 PM
    FanST, Cyfa, Farscape One and 3 others like this.
  8. Vash

    Vash Lieutenant Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2009
    Agreeing with everything in the review… especially, Kira’s unquestioning acceptance of the djarras, deciding to resign and become an artist-- unworthy of her intelligence. And the lack of resistance among the Bajorans- the only one who disagrees about the caste system, getting killed by a Vedek. Makes their culture look pretty dysfunctional.
    As you say, Sisko goes from passively tolerating the role of Emissary, to actively taking it back, for the good of Bajor.
    Loved the O'Brien-Bashir subplot, and Worf’s reaction to Keiko’s pregnancy. Family life rarely gets depicted as appealing, compared to playing games and drinking with a buddy.

    It seems the Prophets are now identifying themselves as Bajoran…and Sisko is also now claimed as Bajoran, by Kai Opaka.
     
    ananta, kkt and FanST like this.
  9. Swedish Borg

    Swedish Borg Fleet Captain Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2021
    Great review, however, I for one am glad they limited themselves to one episode here. One "religious" episode or two (with at least five or six episodes in between) per season is just about all I can take on this subject. Bajor like many other planets in the franchise suffers from the syndrome of the planet of hats. You know Klingons, honor, Vulcans, logic, Ferengi, latinum... Bajorans, religion. This episode is ok as far as I am concerned, but Kira being so willingly submissive and abandoning a way of life that she loves to one that obviously isn't her cup of tea is disappointing. I would have expected a little more resistance from her. The murdering Vedek is a psychopath who probably should have been spotted earlier but was protected by his religious status. The casual way he admits to his killing is characteristic of seriously defective character just like these psychopaths who kill without remorse, kinda puts in mind these catholic priest pedophiles who were protected by the catholic church for decades and some still are, doesn't it?
     
    ananta and FanST like this.
  10. kkt

    kkt Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2014
    Location:
    Seattle
    To the vedek, he wasn't admitting a crime, he was proud of having carried out the will of the prophets (as misinterpreted).
     
  11. Swedish Borg

    Swedish Borg Fleet Captain Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2021
    Yes, because he was an emotionally defective psychopath. That's what they do. Just like the assholes who flew in the twin towers for example. I am sure they were proud of themselves before they blew up!!!
     
  12. ananta

    ananta Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2020
    Yup, I should have mentioned more about Vedek Porta. What a scary dude! Like, really scary. He admits to killing that man as casually as one might confess to spilling a cup of tea. For that reason, it’s actually one of the most disturbing scenes of the entire series. Religion can sadly be used by dangerous, deluded minds as justification for all kinds of horror.
     
    FanST and DonIago like this.
  13. ananta

    ananta Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2020
    “RULES OF ENGAGEMENT”

    [​IMG]
    It would seem that in Klingon society, the favourite son was sent off to become a warrior...the idiot brother was packed off to law school.

    Oh dear. It had to happen eventually. DS9’s fourth season has boasted one of the most consistently strongest runs of episode’s in the franchise’s history, but it was inevitable we’d eventually get at least one stinker, and that’s pretty much how I’d describe “Rules of Engagement”. Back when I first watched the show I simply found it boring and vapid, with no emotional hook or sense of legitimate stakes (like we ever thought Starfleet would extradite Worf over such a ridiculous, spurious and legally nonsensical case as this). When you stop and actually analyse the plot, it completely and utterly falls apart. This one should never have got past quality control.

    I’ll start off with what I do like. LeVar Burton’s directing is particularly strong, from the effectively disorienting and shocking teaser to the novel use of flashbacks which somewhat break the fourth wall by having the characters stop mid-action to address the camera. It’s a neat gimmick that enlivens the episode just a little, even if it does perhaps feel a tad over-stylised. Ron Canada does a great job as the pint-sized Klingon attorney Ch’Pok (I’d have considered a Klingon lawyer an oxymoron had it not been for Star Trek VI and Colonel Worf!). His lively performance really is the highlight of the episode, even if he seems at times inexplicably inept as a lawyer—I’m thinking particularly of the scene he joins Sisko at the replimat and outright tells Sisko the Empire’s true motives for staging the trial (why the heck would he show his hand like that?!). Less impressive is Deborah Strang as the Vulcan Admiral, whose performance is bland and forgettable, although it wasn’t as though she decent material to work with. Oops, I guess I’ve already exhausted the positives.

    Here begins my lament. First, and foremost, this trial should NEVER have taken place at all. As is confirmed in this episode itself, the Federation now has NO DIPLOMATIC TIES with the Klingon Empire. So why the heck is Ch’Pok aboard the station conducting an extradition hearing? Why would the Federation agree to this farce in the first place? They’re in an undeclared state of war with the Empire and if anyone should be on trial it’s the Klingons who WERE ATTACKING A HUMANITARIAN CONVOY! That was an act of war in itself and should have triggered an appropriate response from the Federation, not pandering to the Klingon extradition plot, which ultimately made no sense. It’s a ridiculously convoluted, Machiavellian scheme (far more befitting the Romulans than Klingons). Their basic charge has no basis in legal terms because their argument seems to be that they want to extradite Worf for well, behaving like a Klingon? Their whole prosecution was that the Klingons wanted to extradite Worf so they could punish him for...being a Klingon! How does that wash?

    Furthermore, the episode tried hard to make it look like Worf was actually in the wrong, and the coda with Sisko would have us believe that Worf did act improperly. But I don’t see that at all. It was a life and death combat situation and I think Worf’s actions were prudent. I think we can assume two things: firstly, that civilian ships do NOT generally have cloaking devices and, secondly, that civilian ships would NOT venture into the very middle of an armed conflict. The writers themselves often forget this, but space is big, and three-dimensional. Worf acted properly, I think, and the fact of the matter remains that, even if, for some unthinkable reason, it had been a civilian ship, the Klingons are in no position to complain about collateral damage when, once again, they were the ones that initiated the conflict by attacking a humanitarian aid convoy. Why, oh why, did no one hold the Klingons accountable for that act of war, much less humour them with this ridiculous trial?

    Another huge issue I had was with casting O’Brien as an expert in command decisions and hypothetically giving him command of the Defiant. O’Brien is not even a commissioned officer—Miles would be the very last person who would ever end up in command of the ship. I have no idea why the court agreed to take him as a command expert, when in actual fact he’s simply an unenlisted engineer. Kira was on the bridge too, and is an actual command officer. The only reason we didn’t get her verdict on this was because she’d have sided the hell with Worf, as O’Brien ought to have done as well had the script been true to character.

    Much like the first season’s “Dax”, for a Worf episode he gets barely a page worth of lines throughout the entire episode. Most of the time he sits impassively and displays not a whit of agency. The exploration of whether his heart is still Klingon was already dealt with in the far superior “Sons of Mogh”, rendering this redundant. Also, while Starfleet managed to send out Admiral T’Boring to adjudicate, why didn’t they bother to send a professional attorney for poor Worf? Why does Sisko suddenly have all the skills and qualifications to serve as defence attorney? As it is, Sisko gets Ch’Pok get away with far too much, including his transparent goading of Worf simply to prove the point that if you insult someone you’re likely to get a reaction. Heck, I’d have likely clipped him one—would that prove to a court of law that I have a Klingon killer instinct? Unfortunately, though most of the time Avery Brooks does quite nicely in the courtroom scenes, he goes way over the top toward the end and...well, whoever served the coffee on set really needed to switch Brooks to decaf.

    Overall, I pretty much hate this episode because it’s a story that should never have even existed, making absolutely no sense in either legal or logical terms. I think this was also about the point I’d had enough of the Klingons. This was probably our fourth Klingon episode of the season, and while I liked the others to varying degrees, this was one too many. Whenever I rewatch the series this is one of the few episodes I generally skip, and I only really rewatched it for completion’s sake this time. Court adjourned. Rating: 3
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2021 at 1:22 PM
  14. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2001
    Location:
    Burlington, VT, USA
    Well, maybe the worst part is that I don't think he was using his religion; I think he was a True Believer. He sees nothing wrong with confessing to what he did because by the tenets of his religion he did nothing wrong.

    If memory serves I found "Rules of Engagement" directorially interesting but overall boring and confusing in execution as well, but I should probably re-read other reviews as well, because I can't recall the premise of this whole situation beyond "Worf shot at a civilian ship".
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2021 at 4:16 PM
    ananta likes this.
  15. kkt

    kkt Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2014
    Location:
    Seattle
    Wow, I thought Rules of Engagement was a much better episode than that.

    This is a Star Trek retelling of the 1988 Iran Air Flight 655 incident. The U.S. guided missile cruiser Vincennes allowed themselves to be distracted from protecting neutral shipping into exchanging fire with Iranian gunboats in Iranian waters, contrary to their orders and mission. In the midst of the gunboat fire, the Vincennes misidentified a civilian Airbus on its regular scheduled flight as a military F-14 fighter, and shot it down with the loss of all 290 on board. The incident was an international embarassment for the U.S. The U.S. had to apologize and pay damages for the families of those who died, and the loss of the plane. While the U.S. did not publically blame the captain, he decided to retire in his mid-50s rather than stay in the Navy and try for promotion to admiral. The cruiser had the latest, most expensive, computerized radar system to identify ships and aircraft but apparently could have use some more time in training before being deployed to a combat area. The incident further hurt already tense relations between the U.S. and and all the countries of the Arab world.

    The armed forces of a county or the Federation wield awesome weapons and they need to be correspondingly careful to know what they are aiming at. They should not, and usually do not, operate on a hair trigger shooting before they are certain of the situation.

    Yes, Ch'Pok was very well played. I'd give this episode a 7.
     
    dupersuper, ananta and Farscape One like this.
  16. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2001
    Location:
    Burlington, VT, USA
    I imagine the Iranians didn't try to extradite the captain of the Vincennes?
     
  17. Vash

    Vash Lieutenant Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2009
    Wow, so many plot holes -! I only caught half of them. Great review of a disappointing episode.
    Interesting about the Iran connection.
    I enjoyed the scenes where the actors talk directly to the camera during the trial…first time ever on Trek -? and, the running joke of Morn about to say something.
    I remembered Ron Canada as Martin, another unlikeable character, in TNG “The Masterpiece society.”
     
    ananta likes this.
  18. Bad Thoughts

    Bad Thoughts Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2013
    Location:
    Bad Thoughts
    No, they want to extradite him because he is behaving like a Klingon warrior: he is a knight or a member of a unique caste that has a legal and behavioral code that constrains his behavior, the prosecution of which can only fall to other knights and nobles who obey that code. Once Worf would have been conveyed to Klingon authorities, his actions would have been examined predominantly in terms of intentions rather than evidence
     
  19. Swedish Borg

    Swedish Borg Fleet Captain Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2021
    @ananta: Great review and I agree with you a hundred percent. I'd like to add that the one that irritated me the most was the stupid admiral for letting the Klingon lawyer do whatever he wanted. When at some point she said: "Stop it or I'll hold both of you in contempt." What an imbecile!!! Worf had just started to respond, moderately I might add, to the Klingon lawyer's continuous attacks and insults!!! And she dares say "both of you!" as if they were both equally responsible!! What an imbecile!! I think they should check her because it wouldn't surprise me if she was a Klingon agent in disguise!!!

    As for the trial, it was a complete farce plus they never considered that Worf was before anything else a member of Starfleet and treating him differently because of his Klingon DNA is RACISM!!!

    Personally, because of the complete stupidity and absurdity of the plot, I would rate this one a zero!!!
     
    ananta likes this.
  20. Swedish Borg

    Swedish Borg Fleet Captain Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2021
    Plus the Deus Ex Machina in the end!!! False life signs!!!

    You'd think that's the first thing they would suspect!!!:rolleyes:
     
    ananta likes this.