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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    I could not agree more. This is simply the best medicine focused episode of the franchise, really showing the pathos and pride of the doctor put to the test.
     
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  2. Swedish Borg

    Swedish Borg Commodore Captain

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    Great review! The episode is good, very good even but not IMO a ten. I mean, think of the children born too soon for example, wouldn't the resentful of having to endure the plague while their little brothers won't? Well, there's also the problem of a planet ravaged by disease and malnutrition, wouldn't there be gangs of rampaging marauders?

    I am always dubious of a planet where so many things are wrong and yet are a virtual social paradise. Basically if not for the disease the planet would be perfect!!

    I sooo would like to get my hands on one of those mugs!!!!
     
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  3. Vash

    Vash Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Ananta, it’s so generous of you to share your thoughts and respond to comments. Hope your DS9 ‘odyssey’ brings you good energy. It’s been meaningful for me to find so much more in the stories that I hadn’t appreciated before.
    What a somber episode… the Teplan blight does painfully resonate with the pandemic - The dystopian sets, makeup and costumes are all convincing. The Dominion’s plague as punishment for resistance is beyond cruel--and the Teplans’ own threat of horrific death to those who “bring hope” adds an even darker tone. So, the title “Quickening” seems very ironic - - though it’s also the word for the baby’s kicking in pregnancy.
    The image of Bashir watching the joyful gathering around the newborn child, is beautifully done. A bittersweet ending - Bashir experiences his own limits - fails to save the adult population, but keeps on trying to find a cure back on the station. Was hoping they’d show Kukulaka, the patched-up old teddy bear.

    I see that a replica of Quark’s “free refill” mug is for sale on Etsy.
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2021
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  4. Farscape One

    Farscape One Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Excellent review!

    I think this is Bashir's best episode of the series. It was a gut punch through the episode, and even though he found a vaccine, he still feels as though he failed because of his reactions at the end when the Blight still kills them and the rest suffer through it.

    "But their children won't." - Sisko
    "That's what I keep telling myself." - Bashir

    The fact he still has to be reminded of the good he did shows just how compassionate and caring he is. I find myself putting Bashir as my favorite organic doctor of the franchise. (He's neck and neck with The Doctor.)

    You pretty much nailed exactly my thoughts on the Dominion with this episode. I have nothing more to add.

    And the Quark teaser... one of my favorite teasers of the franchise. I would go to Quark's and I would have fun. (Not Kira's kind, though. :) )

    I definitely rate this one a 10, as well.
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2021
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  5. ananta

    ananta Captain Captain

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    “BODY PARTS”

    [​IMG]
    “You want my body?!”

    As I’ve noted before, the Ferengi episodes tend to get a lot of hate from fans (and deservedly so in later seasons) but I’ve found most of them so far wonderfully entertaining and all three Ferengi outings this season have been excellent. “Body Parts” has a fun premise (Quark is mistakenly diagnosed with a terminal illness so he sells his desiccated remains on the futures market, as one does!) which soon turns into a surprisingly dark drama (Brunt uses this as a way of pressuring Quark into committing suicide) and finally a fascinating character study of Quark with significant long term repercussions.

    It goes without saying that Armin Shimmerman is superb throughout, and ably supported by the always highly watchable Max Grodenchik and Jeffrey Combs, who returns again as the one thing a Ferengi does not want: a liquidator with a very big and very personal grudge. It seems likely to me that the whole affair is less of an “accident” on the part of Quark’s doctor and more of a Machiavellian plot set up by Brunt. It leads to some great comedy (“Maybe I wasn’t clear: I’m not dying.” “Maybe I wasn’t clear: I don’t care.”) and the scenes with Garak were delightfully macabre and downright hilarious. Admittedly, Garak works best played with layer upon layer of subtext, and portraying him an outright assassin seems a little too on the nose, but Andrew Robinson plays it perfectly. His glee at accepting Quark’s job offer is hysterical and it seemed to me that he was never actually serious about going through with it. It feels more like he’s humouring Quark and taking relish in his predicament rather than actually intending to kill him, although I could be wrong. After all, the guy is, or was, a high class spy and not a low level hit man, which I’m sure Quark could easily have gotten hold of if he’d tried.

    The episode’s core dilemma treats us to excellent character study of Quark, who has spent his life trying to be a successful Ferengi; living and breathing by Ferengi values and codes of conduct even though he’s living outside Ferengi society. He truly wants to be a “textbook Ferengi” in every way, but as the series goes on, we see him gradually confronted with the realisation that this may not be who he is, despite his best efforts. “Body Parts” sees him grapple with an impossible dilemma and realise that he does care about something more than Ferengi law and business culture: his own life. But it’s a choice he has to pay for and, courtesy of the deliciously loathsome Brunt, we see Quark suffer what amounts to a Ferengi “discommendation”. His assets are seized, his business license revoked, and he becomes an outcast and pariah to all Ferengi.

    Heck, this is Deep Space Nine—welcome to the club, man! He, Odo, Worf and Garak really ought to have set up a support group for themselves. I love that this is a story with consequences, even if, like the twist Odo’s arc is about to take in the next episode, it’s a storyline that never lives up to its potential. The episode’s final scene is one of my favourite in the whole of DS9 and is as close to a tribute to “It’s a Wonderful Life” as I ever expected to see from the franchise. As Clarence Odbody himself said, “no man is a failure who has friends.” I truly got a lump in my throat as the DS9 crew came to Quark’s aid and help him set up his bar anew. Although it did make me wonder why this was even an issue in an age of replicators. Surely it would have been easy as pie to replicate new chairs, tables, glasses and drink? This doesn’t, however, take away from the heartwarming message.

    Quark’s dream sequence was one element that didn’t entirely work for me. While Max Grodenchik is great as the very first Grand Nagus, something about the scene just didn’t quite gel. It found a little awkward and overlong, and this may be the first time we’ve seen a character’s dream on Star Trek outside of a sci-fi manipulation, flashback or psychic vision. Something about it just felt a little off to me.

    The sub-plot is one driven by necessity rather than artistic choice. Something had to be done to work around Nana Visitor’s real life pregnancy and the sci-fi twist of being forced to beam Keiko’s foetus into Kira’s womb in order to save the baby is a...unique one. Whether you think this is a stroke of genius or madness is entirely up to you. I know some people despised this plot and considered it anti-feminist and offensive. I personally thought it was a fun twist and definitely preferable to writing out Kira or severely restricting the way her scenes were filmed. The scenes dealing with the fallout from this dramatic twist are quite effective, with Rosalind Chao delivering a good performance.

    What I didn’t appreciate was that we never really see things from Kira’s perspective. As excellent as this fourth season has been, it hasn’t been a good season for Kira, who has been notably sidelined and lacking in agency. Here she’s little more than a rent-a-womb and the script never explores how this dramatic and potentially traumatising development affects her. The fact she agrees to move in with the O’Brien’s in order to keep them happy is also something we don’t really get her perspective on. She’s an independent and somewhat solitary woman, so I can’t imagine it would be a decision she wouldn’t have mixed feelings about. Anyway—a means to an end, and in general, it works. Overall, a strong episode, and one that will have lasting consequences for the next season. Rating: 8
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2021
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  6. Farscape One

    Farscape One Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Great review, as usual.

    I use the fact that the outcasting of Garak, Odo, Worf, and now Quark (and really, Rom and Nog, too, and later Bashir in a way) as examples of why DS9 is THE most STAR TREK series in spirit. 'Your own people don't want you, but you are welcome here.' There is no better message than that.

    I don't really have anything to add on the Quark story, because you said pretty much everything. I will add that it seems like a deliberate scheme rather than Brunt finding out about the misdiagnosis because just the way he delivers it clearly indicates he orchestrated it.

    As for the pregnancy, put me in the camp of calling it a genius move. I think it's the most unique method of incorporating a real life pregnancy into a series ever made.

    This may have been a more subdued season for Kira, but I look on it as a good thing, and I'll tell you why. She has already had massive growth in the 3 years previously, so I think it's good to have a sort of breather period for her. Think of it like running a marathon... you might do really good pushing hard at first, but you need a middle plateau to build up the energy for that last leg. And she did have a lot of great scenes this season (for Kira, "STARSHIP DOWN", "CROSSFIRE", ACCESSION"... for Nana, "OUR MAN BASHIR", "SHATTERED MIRROR"), plus her episodes with Dukat were really good ones.

    I also think she might have been perfectly fine with staying with the O'Briens for a couple reasons. First, it's a human baby, and Keiko has been through a pregnancy, so having that kind of support so close must be comforting. Second, it's probably the only time she had a living environment with a real family. What I mean by that is that she was very young when her mother was gone, and we don't really know her situation with her brothers and she lost her dad later. Living under the Occupation, there definitely wasn't a lot of Hallmark moments happening. This could very well have been something she secretly wished for but could never have... until now. And third, it's Miles and Keiko, two solid, really good people that will make her feel as happy and welcome as possible. And since it's really for about 5 months vs. the regular 9 months human pregnancy, it's not an 'overstay my welcome' scenario. I personally don't think we needed a scene of her deliberating on it. It seemed like a win for everybody.

    I think giving this an 8 is very fair. (I almost shed a single man tear at the end every time, too. And at this point in the series, that last scene was my wife's favorite of the series, bar none.)
     
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  7. Bad Thoughts

    Bad Thoughts Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Someone must work awfully hard to make Kira's surrogacy anti-feminist. There is a long, rich history of women helping with each other's pregnancy. Even more, having Visitor act in such a way that suggests her character resents the pregnancy would be abusive, IMO, on par with Meyera asking Nichols to spew out racist cliches in Undiscovered Country. On the other hand, the story was too sentimental, and there should have been not a moment of doubt, but of realization of what she was now into.
     
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  8. Swedish Borg

    Swedish Borg Commodore Captain

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    Great review, great episode!

    One of the best Ferengi episodes assuredly.
     
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  9. Vash

    Vash Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Another brilliant review -- agree it’s one of the best Quark episodes, with some hilarious moments, and the ending is quite wonderful.
    It seems like this season’s recurring theme is characters getting disconnected from their own people, and influenced by the many cultures around them. Rene Auberjonois said, “ I think that is really… what Deep Space Nine is about. It’s not part of any one world, it’s a satellite, a meeting place of people all searching for who they really are.“

    About the subplot - I saw in the Memory Alpha notes, that both Gates McFadden and Roxann Dawson worked all through their pregnancies, concealed by never letting the camera show their abdomens … I had no idea!
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2021
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  10. Farscape One

    Farscape One Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    When I was a kid watching TNG, I had no idea McFadden was pregnant, either.

    But I did notice it with Dawson, mostly because I had heard about the coat trick they used for Crusher. Since she wore it throughout the show, it never occured to me. But when I saw Torres with her engineering coat, something she never had before or since, I knew the pregnancy jig was up.
     
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  11. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Yeah, the Torres coat wasn't very subtle. I always wondered what the little metal bits on it were supposed to be for.
     
  12. Swedish Borg

    Swedish Borg Commodore Captain

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    I am guessing about Dawson that she was very pregnant during the "alien Nazis" episode and that that is why they made it part of the story somehow, by making her pregnant of a holographic baby by a holographic Nazi, that B'elanna said was quite realistic. I always found the idea funny that a holodeck could make a woman pregnant... In a simulation of Alien, could it make grow a xenomorph in your body that would then burst through your ribcage???:cardie:
     
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  13. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

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    ^Bad time to disable the safeties!
     
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  14. Farscape One

    Farscape One Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Tools. We saw her use them here and there during season 4 when she had the coat. If you look closely, a pocket is holding those tools in place.
     
  15. Bad Thoughts

    Bad Thoughts Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Lampshading is a word for hiding something in plain plain sight. Could we call this labcoating?
     
  16. ananta

    ananta Captain Captain

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    “BROKEN LINK”

    [​IMG]
    “Yes, Quark, a bird shat on me. A very big bird!”

    [​IMG]
    “It wasn’t me...”


    And so we come to the end of the fourth season! By far the show’s strongest season to date, in terms of episode-to-episode quality it remains one of the absolute best of the franchise. In some respects it may even be DS9’s finest season all round, were it not for the fact that, despite the exceptional episodic quality, it’s ultimately feels rather less than the sum of its parts. In terms of the show’s overall narrative, season four does feel like it’s treading water and the introduction of the Klingons as a primary antagonist didn’t entirely work for me, not when compared with the chilling awesomeness of the Dominion. Although the fifth and sixth seasons perhaps had a more variable episodic quality than the fourth season, the sheer strength of the overarching storytelling definitely makes them greater than the sum of their parts and arguably the show’s true creative peak. We’ll see if I still feel that way after rewatching them.

    “Broken Link” kind of underscores the fact that, in terms of the thrust of the show’s narrative and the Dominion arc, not a huge amount has really progressed since the third season finale. The Klingon storyline was a rare care of overt executive meddling, although it did treat us to a stunning season premiere and an especially strong character drama in “Sons of Mogh”, and I feel Worf made a great addition to the cast. However, this season has largely been a diversion from the show’s intended course and we’re only now just following up two pivotal plot points from the year before: namely, the consequences of Odo killing a Changeling and the full implication of the revelation that the Changelings are “everywhere”.

    What we get here is an entertaining, workmanlike episode, but one that’s unusually low-key for a season finale and beset by what I see as some pretty big plot holes. All in all, it’s decent fare, but I’d count it among the season’s less successful episodes and, as a season finale...well, a bit of a disappointment.

    The central Odo storyline is definitely solid (no pun intended!) and it’s great to see the Constable take centre stage in what has been a rather Odo-light season. I wasn’t a fan of the teaser, however. Garak trying to set people up on dates really doesn’t strike me as his style, even though it was nice to see that he and Odo still maintain something of a friendship. This scene would have worked better between Quark and Odo, in my opinion, and certainly been truer to Quark’s more meddling personality. Unfortunately, I couldn’t stand Chalan Aroya, and while I can’t really blame the actress when it’s such a blatantly transparent, one-note role, it’s nevertheless a performance I hated (all ninety seconds of it). Thank the Prophets the producers realised this and didn’t bring her back for the fifth season as originally intended.

    Things get altogether more interesting, however, when Odo begins exhibiting symptoms of the ominous Changeling virus and comes to realise that his only hope is a trip home to the Great Link. Ruh-roh...

    It’s actually a great hook for the episode, but here’s where I had some problems with the writing. Such a mission warranted the use of a runabout, yes, but most certainly NOT the Defiant and most of DS9’s senior officers. Why on Earth did Starfleet agree to send off one of its most important vessels and crews at a time of war, leaving DS9 and Bajor significantly more vulnerable. Furthermore, why did Sisko agree to let Garak come aboard when the man’s deeply shady past and duplicitous nature made him a legitimate security risk, as is later demonstrated? The bullshit about keeping Odo’s mind off things was a lame excuse. I did enjoy the scenes between the two, but I still didn’t buy the pretence for Garak’s presence aboard the ship. The fact that the ship quickly ends up in the hands of the Jem’Hadar and Founder and Sisko willingly LETS them take over the ship shows another absolutely terrible command decision on Sisko’s part. If that device was capable of controlling every system on the ship, it was certainly capable of accessing the computer records. Again, taking the Defiant on this mission, complete with a Cardassian spy on board, and then permitting this unjustifiably reckless security breach is makes Sisko seem like a dangerously incompetent command officer.

    Another complaint about the episode relates to the normally brilliant Garak, whose characterisation I found notably “off” in parts of this episode. We do get a superb and utterly chilling scene between Garak and the Founder, with both a nice callback to the events of “The Die is Cast” and a foreshadowing of what will eventually happen to Cardassia at the end of the series. However, Garak breaking into the weapons system in an attempt to destroy the planet was decidedly... un-Garak-like. This is a man who works from the shadows, manipulating and covertly pulling strings while covering his tracks like a ninja; not someone who impulsively tries to blow up a planet without any regard to the consequences and then gets into fisticuffs with a Klingon. All of this is beneath Garak’s dignity. He must really be slipping to have been caught so easily and then to end up in jail for six months.

    I suppose you could argue that the Founder rattled him so much that he wasn’t thinking clearly and thus acted in a such an uncharacteristically emotional and impulsive way. Even if you can understand Garak’s desire to strike at the Founders, it’s also as short-sighted as Tain’s original plan. Even if he succeeded in destroying the Founders’ planet (and I highly doubt it, because the moment they opened fire the—presumably nearby—Jem’Hadar ships would take the Defiant down in an instant), the Dominion would still exist and it would be more dangerous than ever. Imagine the retribution the Jem’Hadar would seek upon Cardassia for destroying their gods. It doesn’t even bear thinking about. Nope, Garak should be smarter than this, and more competent, too. And again, this highlights that Sisko must have left his brain back on the station that day, because he was responsible for these shenanigans by letting Garak tag along on one of Starfleet’s most dangerous and supposedly high-security ships. This episode ends up doing no favours to either Sisko or Garak. That said, the Garak/Worf scene is still fun to watch and has some sparkling dialogue (I love Worf’s “you fight well...for a TAILOR.”), which is no less than I’ve come to expect from Ira Behr and Robert Wolfe.

    Another major issue I have with the episode is the Founders’ ability to turn Odo into a human...and I mean an ACTUAL HUMAN, with all the physiology, blood, organs, nervous system, you name it. How the actual HECK did they manage to do that? Are they genuine Gods after all? I get that they can to change shape to approximate other forms, but how can they create the infinite complexity of a human body from...goo? Changeling magic powers? I’d much preferred if they’d simply established that they had taken away his ability to change shape; that he was the same Odo, but now locked into that form forever more.

    It certainly was a shocking twist, especially when viewing the episode first time around, and it seemed to promise a wealth of future story possibilities. Rene Auberjonois is superb as always, and Salome Jens makes a welcome return as one of Star Trek’s most sinister and unnerving villains of all time. Again, it’s an episode that shows how DS9 never shies away from dealing with consequences. I loved the stunning new Changeling planet and the Michelangelo-inspired shots of a naked Odo reaching up to the Founder much as Adam reaches up to God. Alas, my excitement over this twist is dulled by the fact I know the writers will barely do anything with it, squandering what had the potential to a fascinating little arc.

    Which leads to my final complaint. The twist that Gowron is a Changeling is clearly meant to be a dramatic cliff-hanger, but I’ve always found it terribly underwhelming. The moment we saw Gowron in “The Way of the Warrior” it was clear that something was up with the guy. Why didn’t anyone propose back then that he, and perhaps even the rest of the Klingon leaders, may have been Changelings? This revelation ought to be NO surprise to anyone, and yet it’s clearly meant to be. Also, the way all the senior officers just happen to be gathered on the Promenade at the very same time and the crowd stands utterly still as everyone stares at a monitor felt so staged and forced to me. I really found it one of the weakest season finale cliff-hangers Trek ever did.

    I’ve given this one a hard time, and the more I think about it the more dissatisfied I feel. In spite of its flaws, however, it’s still an intriguing and entertaining episode, with some nicely zesty banter between the crew, a great performance by Auberjonois, and an intriguing twist for one of the show’s greatest characters. I don’t actually mind that it’s low-key as season finales go, but it just didn’t particularly thrill me all that much and I don’t consider it a fittingly strong end to an excellent season. Rating: 7
     
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  17. Vash

    Vash Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Excellent review. May the Great Bird of the galaxy bless your planet. :hugegrin:

    I liked a lot about this episode but agree with the problems pointed out -- Garak’s attempt to destroy the great link was really out of character - he was outraged by the female changeling’s grim put-down, but it was so unlike him.

    Also I agree it’s puzzling how the changelings had the ability to make Odo fully human--though if they genetically engineered the Vorta and the Jem ‘Hadar, not much is beyond them.

    Weird that Garak made a point of introducing Odo to Chalan Aroya…. and Jill Jacobson was definitely not his type. Glad they didn’t keep her.

    I wonder how the Founders became such genocidal monsters-- what terrible thing could the Solids have done to them so long ago? As for never harming one of their own - what about sending 100 changeling infants out to experience the Alpha quadrant, alone and helpless?
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2021
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  18. Farscape One

    Farscape One Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Great review!

    I will say it's a little harsh on Sisko and Garak, but I can't really defend Sisko in this circumstance. I chalk him up to the realities of tv production. Garak, though, is understandable, given the later revelation about his relationship with Tain. The best of us can become a completely different person under such a situation.

    Speaking of Garak trying to set up Odo, I did find it odd when it first aired, and on most subsequent rewatches. But then it hit me while rewatching with my wife... I think the real reason was something we would have seen a short time later, but the events of the episode sidetracked Garak and after being in jail for 6 months his window of opportunity for whatever he needed to do was past. Sometimes it's better to leave a little mystery in STAR TREK, and who better to represent that than our plain, simple Garak.

    I want to add that I loved the banter in the Wardroom with sneezing Kira. It was a fun scene, and a nice little detail about pregnant Bajoran women. It's definitely a more plausible possibility than some other examples of alien pregnancies in STAR TREK. (I'm looking at you, "ELOGIUM"...)

    Overall, it is a low key season finale, but I think it fits the pattern DS9 has established itself for such finales. They tend to bookend the season as a whole while paving the way for the new season, which is why they are never cliffhangers, and in most cases the next season takes place weeks or even months later.

    The Klingon storyline was a little course change for the series, but I think it worked more to its benefit than detriment. And adding Worf was a great move... he fits in better here than on TNG, ironically. The writers weaved him in virtually seamlessly. (You might even say with Garak-like precision...)

    I understand what yoy mean by the season not feeling as good as say season 5 or 6, but I have to disagree. Not about the arcing or overall feel of the show... that we agree on. But I will always maintain that season 4 of DS9 is the gold standard for a STAR TREK series. It's the closest to perfect we'll ever get.

    For the finale, I think I'll rate it a 7.5. For the season, a 10. Not even a question.
     
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  19. Swedish Borg

    Swedish Borg Commodore Captain

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    Great review! I am however not as bothered as you are by the changelings' abilities, let's say that DS9 and the St franchise, in general, habituated me to many outrageous non-scientific allegations often more unbelievable than this one. The Jems that don't eat, the changelings that don't eat, don't breathe, and can change mass at will!!! Not to mention live in outer space in the form of a spaceship, turn into fire, fogs, and a pair of handcuffs!!! So turning Odo into a human being is peanuts compared to all that. Plus remember the remark of one of the Jems "The white is all we need." well, if it's ALL you need then it's not really a drug, is it? It's more like food!!!

    I could go on forever about the bizarre things that they can do or cannot do! Like that disfigured Cardassian in "The Darkness and the Light", I mean someone with his resources!!! Like he couldn't afford a little reconstructive surgery!!

    You see what I mean. What they can do is just as outrageous as what they can't do when the plot demands it.

    Anyway, that was just my little two cents...
     
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  20. ananta

    ananta Captain Captain

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    Thanks Vash! I also wonder what turned the Founders into such monsters. Must have been some really nasty shit happened to them as has been implied. I also think they make a little too much fuss about “no changeling ever harming another” when the Krajensky-Changeling in “The Adversary” was hellbent on destroying the crew, including Odo. Would he have been hauled up on charges if he’d succeeded? I wonder.

    I agree, the Klingon storyline certainly wasn’t bad, and I like the way it had its root in the Dominion machinations. It worked better than it could have given I’m not a huge fan of Klingons of this era in general.

    I always enjoy reading your thoughts after I post a review. When it comes to a Trek “gold standard”, I think that will forever be the first season of TOS for me. I still find it staggeringly good all these years on, with classic after classic and laying the foundation for a franchise that is still going strong nearly sixty years later. But DS9 seasons four and five are most definitely up there.
     
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