My DS9 Rewatch Odyssey

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

  1. Farscape One

    Farscape One Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I know Cardassians, like Klingons, hate the cold. As B'Elanna once said, Cardassians just complain about it more. Though I don't remember if they are actually cold blooded.
     
  2. Swedish Borg

    Swedish Borg Commodore Captain

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    I mean they could be because there is a reptilian quality to their aspect. And cold-blooded animals need higher temperatures than warm-blooded do. The question is do Cardassians sweat? If they don't that could be an indication that they are cold-blooded.
     
  3. mastadge

    mastadge Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    This episode leaves me unsatisfied for two main reasons, I think:

    1) I know a lot of people don't like the Bajoran politics, but this episode I didn't feel like we had a good grasp of the stakes. Like, it's a year since Opaka was lost, we're getting ready to vote for the new Kai. Kira and Bareil have a conversation: Winn or Bareil? And then Kira throws out a third Vedek's name as her choice. Can any Vedek run for Kai? How many are in the running? How much support do they have? What is the range of accepted interpretations of prophecies and texts? The show seems wishy-washy on weather Winn is a heterodox religious extremist or a major contender (or both?) -- we only ever see her as blatantly manipulative and political. Is that how Bajorans see her? Or are we seeing mainly the hidden side? Bareil on the other hand seems to hide in his monastery and has popular support only because Opaka was popular and supported him? Who else is there? Who else has a chance?

    2) The motivations just don't work for me. Opaka was beloved. Surely she at some point could have outed herself as the "collaborator" who sacrificed her child to save over a thousand strangers instead of leaving a weird cover-up to sabotage her successor? I don't really get why this was Bareil's cross to bear, and I don't get why these people believed that dishonesty and cover-ups were preferable to honesty. ALSO, if being the "collaborator" who targeted a few to save many is Winn's ammunition against Bareil, where's the oppo campaign pointing out how she offered Kubus, a known collaborator and publicly hated figure, sanctuary on Bajor in defiance of the popular and legal support?

    Anyway, point 1 could have been fixed with a couple brief conversations scattered through the season leading up to the Kai election and maybe throwing some names and tidbits out there. At least let the show feel like the background stuff on Bajor is of consequence even if it's not going to dig in.
     
  4. Vash

    Vash Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I wonder if there should have been more clarification on why Kasidy was sentenced. Was it illegal for a civilian to run medical supplies to the Maquis? Or was she sent to prison only for unknowingly helping Eddington steal the replicators?
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2021
  5. Swedish Borg

    Swedish Borg Commodore Captain

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    I think it's just illegal to have any dealings with the Maquis whatsoever. However, she wasn't sentenced for long so it was just the guilt by association thing ( It seems a descendant of MacCarthy wrote some of Starfleet's regulations...). It's likely that Edington was detained for life.
     
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  6. ananta

    ananta Captain Captain

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    “TO THE DEATH”

    [​IMG]
    “Hey, can you be our new besties? We look trustworthy, right?!”

    This and the next few reviews might be a little bit shorter and more succinct as I’ve fallen a bit behind and don’t have a lot of energy this week. Onwards—“To the Death” is an episode that frustrates me quite a bit, because up until the last five minutes it’s pretty much a classic, and then they flub the ending something terrible.

    You know right from the teaser and the shocking sight of the space station literally in bits that this will be something of a badass episode, and that it most certainly is. I wasn’t entiiiirely sold on the Dominion teaming up with an enemy on a joint mission to protect the sanctity and security of the Dominion, but just about everything is executed with great finesse. Ira Behr and Robert Wolfe were masters of deftly interweaving plot, characterisation and humour, as is evidenced by so many of their scripts.

    This episode has much in common with “Blood Oath”, at least structurally, in that it’s all essentially build-up to a mission that only occurs in the final few minutes. But when build-up is this good I don’t mind. The awkward alliance causes all the unease and conflict you’d expect, including the obligatory fight-in-the-mess-hall sequence. The greatest moments, however, are the subtlest, and most of those involve the brilliant Weyoun, brought alive by the ubiquitous Jeffrey Combs (I think I actually “squeed” when I heard his voice on the transporter pad). From his mealy-mouthed attempts to manoeuvre Sisko onto his side and the understated discord between him and his Jem’Hadar First, Ometi’klan, to his thoroughly creepy scene with Odo (which, we later learn, is presumably Weyoun infecting Odo with the disease that will become symptomatic in “Broken Link”), he’s just a delight to watch.

    Clarence Williams III also gives a memorably intense performance as Ometi’klan, and fortunately he is more than matched in terms of screen presence by Avery Brooks, who is in total badass mode throughout. Despite having to deal with the dangerous, intimidating Jem’Hadar and their weasely Vorta, Sisko maintains his cool and very much stays in control of what is a simmering powder keg of a situation. I love the world-building here and the fact we learn so much more about the Jem’Hadar and the Dominion, and that, of the three Jem’Hadar warriors we get to know, each has quite a different personality, which wasn’t something I necessarily expected to see (especially given the overly homogenised way Trek tends to present its races). There are some nice moments of humour sprinkled throughout, and O’Brien nabs all the best lines, although Jadzia also gets to shine with her wry humour.

    Alas, the final act is a bit of a mess. After such an effective and engaging set-up, the climax and denouement is let down by some terrible editing and plot holes that I cannot quite overlook. The producers are on record as saying the censors deemed the episode too violent and cut around a minute of battle footage. It damn well shows! At first I was blaming the directing, but LeVar Burton actually does a good job throughout. Nope, the poor fight scenes are hampered by the jarringly abrupt, disjointed editing (another head-scratching instance is when Omati’klan kills Brian Thompson’s character in the mess hall and all we actually see is the character mysteriously slumping to the ground). I’m also not sure why Worf is carrying about Odo who is disguised as a bag. Why—? Why doesn’t he fly about as a bird or mosquito if he doesn’t want to be seen? The writers tended to be so frustratingly unimaginative when it came to Odo’s shapeshifting. The constable could have been an awesome weapon in battle situations, but that was rarely utilised. Instead, he disguised himself as a duffel bag. I was also a little disappointed the producers didn’t put a little more thought into the Iconian gateway when we finally see it—I’m pretty sure it was more visually effective back in TNG’s “Contagion” episode many years before.

    My biggest problems are, however, is the casual way that Ometi’klan kills Weyoun. It’s illogical (he “proves his loyalty” by being disloyal...?), there’s no real story justification for it and it goes against all that we know about the Jem’Hadar. Season six’s “Rocks and Shoals” demonstrates vividly just how loyal the Jem’Hadar are to “the order of things” when they’re willing to walk into an ambush and die just to obey their Vorta. Also, how the heck will Ometi’klan provide himself and his men with Ketracel-White now? That confounded me from the moment I first saw the episode and it still bothers me. Then, the episode just ...ENDS. So abruptly that I almost thought my DVD had skipped a bit. Meh. This final act bothers me a lot. It’s laden with plot holes and unsatisfying after such a build-up. Still, because of the strength of the previous thirty-five minutes or so, it’s nevertheless an episode I enjoyed a lot. With a better resolution it could have been a 9 or 10 perhaps. Rating: 8 (just). Maybe this episode should have been a two-parter...
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2021
  7. Swedish Borg

    Swedish Borg Commodore Captain

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    Great Review! Do you mean to say that in your version you don't see the first break the neck of his second?

    Anyway, the one thing that I found stupid even though I liked this episode a lot is that Ometi’klan who thought that the federation saving them from their exploding ship showed a weakness that needed to be taken advantage of, was convinced by Sisko's saving him after he threatened him that he shouldn't kill him!!! IOW two events that amount basically to the same kind of thinking that get from the Jem two opposite reactions. I don't know about you but I find that stupid and inconsistent.

    The second time the first should have said: "I've threatened to kill you and you saved my life, man, you're weak!! and you deserve to be killed!!!"

    Plus the Jem don't eat!!! that's lame!!! It's like they thought what detail could make this completely incredible...
     
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  8. Vash

    Vash Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Ananta, great review, and sure hope your treatments are helping you.
    What I admired most about this episode was the sharp, memorable dialogues throughout, on life and death and loyalty and a lot in between -- Jadzia and Omet’iklan, Weyoun and Odo, Jadzia and O’Brien, Worf and Sisko. Also, the administering of the ketracel white to the Jem Hadar - sort of like a religious ceremony? Interesting about the Iconians and their gateways- curious how they were so advanced so long ago, and yet defeated somehow.
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2021
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  9. Farscape One

    Farscape One Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Excellent review!

    This is one of my favorites of DS9. The writers wanted to show that even if you know more about the Jem'Hadar, you really don't want to be around them. And they succeeded, because we get a great at look at them. And damn, they are the best soldiers you can possibly have.

    I hadn't thought about just how different each of the 3 we get to know really are, but you're right. Nice catch!

    And of course, we get the debut of Weyoun, who Jeffrey Combs did so well that the writers decided on them being clones just to bring hin back. (And inadvertently, or maybe not, led to some jokes regarding the killing of Weyouns...)

    I'm not sure if Weyoun was the one to infect Odo here. I don't think he had direct physical contact. But if that is true, it sort of puts a different spin on Weyoun's entire mission. The rebel Jem'Hadar might even have been a plan all alone by the Founders just for Weyoun to infect him. (Though in hindsight, his asking Odo if he was ready to come home could have been a last chance before they decide to infect him.)

    The fight at the end was disjointed a bit, and I think that was due to the heavy editing required of the show at the time. I would love to see all the lost footage...

    An excellent episode. I give it a 9.


    (On a side personal note, I hope you feel better. Rest up and take care of yourself.)
     
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  10. Swedish Borg

    Swedish Borg Commodore Captain

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    I agree, my best wishes.
     
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  11. Vash

    Vash Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I would never have guessed it was Weyoun, but according to memory alpha, the scene where he slaps Odo on the back is when he transmits the destabilizing virus.
     
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  12. Swedish Borg

    Swedish Borg Commodore Captain

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    It's the official explanation although we don't actually see Weyoun even make contact with Odo.
     
  13. Vash

    Vash Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    You're right, I just checked that meeting scene again, just closeups of their faces.
     
  14. Swedish Borg

    Swedish Borg Commodore Captain

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    Plus if you stop to think about it. Weyoun's meeting with Odo was very fortuitous unless every Vorta in the Quadrant has been briefed and equipped with the patch. I don't see how this could work. Also, I suppose that had Odo agreed to come to the link he wouldn't have been infected so it is somewhat left to the discretion of the Vorta to infect him or not and given the low regard that the founders have for the Vorta, I find that a little dubious. To the changelings, the Vorta are little more than tools to be replaced by their clones at the first sign of weakness.
     
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  15. Farscape One

    Farscape One Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Agreed. Also, given how easily the Founders were able to replace Bashir a short time later, I think infecting Odo is a task that would be done by a Changeling rather than any of their henchmen.
     
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  16. Vash

    Vash Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Your explanations make a lot of sense, still there’s a strange inconsistency here….The script by Behr and Wolfe says,

    Weyoun looks at Odo for a beat, then gives him a good-natured clap on the shoulder. (In case anyone's interested, when he touches Odo, Weyoun is purposely infecting Odo with the disease that almost kills him in "BROKEN LINK.")

    Then, Ronald Moore’s 1999 interview says that the omission of this film clip was “just a rumor.”

    Maybe LeVar Burton knows what really happened with that scene--!
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2021
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  17. ananta

    ananta Captain Captain

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    Yeah, I actually rewound that moment to watch it again. My dvd version at least does seem abruptly cut; it moves to a close up of Worf, but you don’t see or hear what Ometi’klan does to his officer. It looks as though he just slumps to the ground. I remember a soap opera years ago that had a character get hit by a car and killed. Unfortunately they edited it so badly it just looked like she’d tripped over and fallen over. Oops.

    Thanks Vash! I agree, I loved those moments too. And the Iconians fascinate me, I’ve always been really intrigued by ancient civilisations. Unfortunately, the Iconians were more or less window dressing in their two Trek episodes. I’d love a miniseries of perhaps even a movie featuring time travel and exploring what happened to the Iconians.

    I’d definitely be up for an extended, uncut version of this one.
    Thanks by the way—I’m freakishly tired this week but I am taking it easy and that helps.
     
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  18. ananta

    ananta Captain Captain

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    interesting! It is in the script, then. The scene between them in the corridor is interestingly shot because it’s basically close ups of their faces, which is effectively unsettling. I did get the impression that Weyoun maybe touched Odo’s arm or something, but I guess we’ll never really know. Perhaps another editing fail!
     
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  19. Swedish Borg

    Swedish Borg Commodore Captain

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    I don't know. The Vorta consider the changelings to be gods. You don't touch a god las if it was a chum or something. That seems highly disrespectful. If that's what we're supposed to believe then IMO it's a bad idea.

    There's no way IMO that Weyoun could touch Odo without committing the equivalent of a sacrilege, plus knowingly infecting a god? Even more unlikely.
     
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  20. ananta

    ananta Captain Captain

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    “THE QUICKENING”

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    Worf may be pissed, but I’m sure some of us would pay good money for one of those!

    At first glance, “The Quickening” may not seem anything particularly new. The premise of a planet afflicted by a plague that our heroes must strive to cure dates all the way back to the Original Series. Where this episode excels, however, is not only in its execution and powerful characterisation, but the fact it remains one of the most disturbing examples of the consequences of evil that I think we’ve ever seen on Star Trek. Whereas the previous episode reminded us that, in spite of a joint mission with the Defiant crew, the Dominion are NOT nice guys, “The Quickening” demonstrates in painfully vivid detail just how utterly horrific they are. Here we encounter a planet that was deliberately infected with a devastating virus that has destroyed the planet and decimated the population; a virus that spreads from generation to generation and always results in a horribly painful death. It’s utterly nightmarish and truly shows the depths of the Dominion’s danger far more than a space battle, macho posturing or running about with knives ever could. For that reason alone, this is an important episode in terms of Dominion world-building (or, in this case, world decimating).

    I remember finding “The Quickening” hard-hitting when I first watched it as a teenager, and it find it packs a fair punch today. I’m rather glad the writers didn’t follow the standard cliche of having our characters develop the virus in order to raise the stakes, because there’s already more than enough meat here. It’s a particularly excellent vehicle for Bashir and is perhaps the one episode that truly and completely redeems the character for those that disliked him, once and for all erasing all trace of the arrogance he so often exhibited in the show’s early seasons (and even from still does, from time to time, as the teaser demonstrates). Idealism clashes with the bitter sting of reality as he finds himself in a nightmarish situation in which every action he takes simply makes matters worse. The scene where his patients end up screaming in agony and begging for death after being exacerbated by the E.M. fields of his instruments is one of Trek’s most harrowing scenes. It’s painful seeing Bashir broken by his failure here, and yet rewarding to see him stick with it and eventually find a way to vaccinate the population’s children.

    Yup, it’s not necessarily an easy watch, particularly so in these times, when our own world has been brought to its knees by a deadly pandemic. That I find it somewhat uncomfortable viewing is, I think, a testament to the tremendous execution. If this had just been a middling Voyager-type episode (sorry to bash Voyager, folks!) I don’t think it would have been nearly as emotionally engaging as it was. It benefits from a first rate script, excellent performances, particularly by Alexander Siddig, and Rene Auberjonois delivers his best directorial effort yet. David Bell also contributes an effectively tense, funereal score that really adds to the atmosphere. On top of that, we have some unexpected and excellent location work, sets and matte work that really vividly brings this dilapidated, pain-stricken planet to life.

    Although a real sense of doom pervades the episode, it’s utterly compelling viewing. I enjoyed how well Dax and Bashir work together, with a nice camaraderie, although I did think that, as the scientist, Dax would realistically have been the one doing most of the work here. After all, doctors administer treatment and deal with patients (and the CMOs we get on Trek we can assume are the 24th century of General Practitioners), whereas it’s scientists that do the work behind the scenes furthering medical advances, treatments and vaccines, etc. Trek often over-extends doctors and has them capable of doing pretty much everything, as the script depends. It rarely gave its science officers a whole lot to do. But, this is Bashir’s episode, and his arc is beautifully done. He feels more human and more likeable than he’s perhaps ever been and hopefully even the ardent Bashir haters out there may have been turned around by this.

    The episode also weaves in a solid and fairly nuanced exploration of euthanasia, with Michael Sarrazin giving an effectively understated performance as Trevean, the doctor whose toolkit basically consists of poison. While the episode looks like it’s going to paint Trevean as the villain and Bashir the higher-ground hero, as pretty much any of its sister shows probably would have, DS9 instead takes a more shades of grey approach, which I greatly appreciated. The fact of the matter is that once Bashir inadvertently triggers a wave of suffering and death, Trevean is there to alleviate their suffering and grant them a quicker and less painful death. Finally, Ellen Wheeler is quite wonderful as Ekoria, delivering a wonderfully innocent, sincere, heart-rending performance. It’s not often that an episode generates all that much emotional connection with a guest character, but the birth of Ekoria’s baby was truly a moment of joy, and her death really painful in more ways than one. I can’t really think of any real flaws to this episode—and it also boasts one of the funniest comic relief scenes of the entire series in the form of Quark’s advertisements (“Come to Quark’s, Quark’s is fun...”). A harrowing and moving little drama that’s always been one of my low-key favourites. Rating: 10
     
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