My DS9 Rewatch Odyssey

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

  1. Swedish Borg

    Swedish Borg Commodore Captain

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    They kinda hit a soft reset button at the end of situation changing episodes, like "Body Parts" where Quark is supposedly broke and without a Ferengi license to do commerce and that doesn't seem to have many consequences either. In fact in the next episode Quark is back to his normal self. The Ferengi license is mentioned later but only as a plot point. That's rather common for DS9. Voyager is worse because it hits the hard reset button, where nothing is ever mentioned ever!!! The ship is half destroyed, like at the end of basics or the micro virus episode and everything is repaired before the end credits!!!

    Odo is a solid but we barely see the difference... He even has an episode where he links with everybody WHILE BEING A SOLID!!!

    Anyway, the point is DS9 is not big on consequences.
     
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  2. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

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    The problem with that is that Quark sabotaged the station. That's a criminal act, so it shouldn't matter whether Jadzia declined to press charges. I'm not sure whether Starfleet or the Bajorans would have jurisdiction in such a situation, but I would think his punishment might be akin to what Garak faced after he tried to sabotage the Defiant. I don't remember the episode well enough to speculate as to whether Quark did good things in the episode that would have resulted in everyone looking the other way in the end.

    I agree that his behavior seems to have softened over time (good thing, or it would have become really problematic).
     
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  3. Farscape One

    Farscape One Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    It is a Bajoran station, just under Starfleet administration. I think the Bajoran laws take precedent. Given Quark was instrumental is solving the whole thing, despite it happening because of Quark, it probably helped his case.

    With Garak on the Defiant, that was a Starfleet ship. Sisko and Federation/Starfleet ruled there fully.
     
  4. Swedish Borg

    Swedish Borg Commodore Captain

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    Well, they went easy on Garak given that he tried to kill them all.
     
  5. ananta

    ananta Captain Captain

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    “TIES OF BLOOD AND WATER”

    [​IMG]
    Bringing new meaning to that old expression, “What’s your poison?”

    I found this episode stronger than I remember, although it’s not without its flaws. “Second Skin” was a third season highlight and I’m glad we got some follow-up given that it remains one of Kira’s defining moments. Unfortunately, things begin on something of a bum note with the relationship between Kira and Ghemor seeming particularly forced. Now, I guess it is wholly possible that Kira and Ghemor bonded through that traumatic incident, but we really didn’t see much indication of that in “Second Skin” other than Kira coming to realise that Ghemor was actually a good, respectable man who genuinely cared for his daughter.

    I can accept that they kept in touch and maintained a friendship of sorts, although both the writers and actors do go into overkill trying to sell their “father-daughter” bond. It just felt a little unnatural to me and when the writers are clearly trying to manipulate the viewer’s emotions by cheating (ie., “yes, we got very close—and it happened off screen so you’ll just have to take our word for it!”) it lessens my emotional connection to what’s happening. Yup, that’s probably what stopped this from being quite the emotional powerhouse it’s aiming to be. The first quarter or so of the episode has an awkward, sluggish, calculated kind of feel and although Nana Visitor delivers a truly superb performance as the episode progresses, I felt she was overdoing things in the early scenes because Kira was behaving FAR too...giddily, which is just not in character.

    However, once the episode gets going, my initial misgivings fell away because there’s a lot to enjoy here. The notion of a Cardassian deathbed ritual of dishing dirt on one’s political rivals is so deliciously...Cardassian! Given this element, I was expecting the episode to become a political thriller with all kinds of twists and turns relating to Dukat and the Dominion. Alas, we don’t really learn a single interesting thing from Ghemor. In fact, the confession plot is basically a McGuffin and doesn’t really amount to anything. The real thrust of the story is altogether more personal as the interwoven flashbacks to Kira’s father’s death soon demonstrate.

    This is where the episode excels. It’s a story about facing death and what happens when, out of fear or an inability to deal with the pain, we choose not to face it. This very often happens in life; a current event will trigger a past pain and issues we’ve long tried to bury or suppress will come flooding to the surface. Alas, the only way to deal with them is to finally confront and work through them. Or turn to drink or drugs, I guess. During the Occupation, Kira was living in hell and didn’t have the luxury of time or space to process her traumas and grief. It made sense that she’d inadvertently compartmentalised her suffering and that at a later time would eventually have to deal with it.

    The flashbacks are effective (although I’ve never been crazy on the Occupation-era wig they give Visitor) and it’s a nice touch to see William Lucking reprise his role as the ill-fated, and in this timeframe, two-armed Furel. Of course, Dukat’s involvement elevates the episode substantially and his gleeful visit to Kira’s quarters where he shares some incriminating information about Ghemor’s past is the highlight of the episode. This is the Dukat Marc Alaimo was born to play, and Visitor is equally marvellous. It’s an absolutely electrifying scene, beautifully performed and expertly staged. Who can forget the shocking moment when Kira suddenly throws a cup at his face?

    The rest of the episode is a triumph. Ghemor’s deathbed scenes are well handled and uncomfortably realistic. Kira’s dilemma makes for compelling drama and her eventual realisation that can’t leave Ghemor to die alone—as she did her real father—is a poignant one. Visitor sells the hell out of it, particularly in the monologue she delivers in the Infirmary afterward. The camera just hangs on her face in a scene that feels intimate and raw. Avery Brooks’ directing throughout is pretty much flawless; in my book, he’s definitely the most talented actor-turned-director since Jonathan Frakes.

    Another huge bonus is the return of the scene-stealing Jeffrey Combs as another incarnation of Weyoun. Combs is hilarious throughout, and the poisoned kanar scene in Quark’s is quite probably among the show’s top ten moments (“Oh, my, that really is quite toxic!”). Dukat and Weyoun immediately establish themselves as an incredibly entertaining double act and it’s great to get some follow-up to the world-shattering events of “By Inferno’s Light”.

    I think that about covers it. Despite a few reservations early on and some heavy-handed setup, this becomes a poignant and insightful character drama and an important part of Kira’s arc and journey toward healing and wholeness. Add some Cardassian and Dominion intrigue to the mix, and Nana Visitor at the top of her game, and you have a clear winner. Rating: 8
     
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  6. ananta

    ananta Captain Captain

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    I’m really enjoying seeing Quark’s arc as the series progresses, which I never really noticed as much during my initial watches. He really does grow and develop a lot as he gradually internalises (or is “corrupted”) by Federation values. Nice to hear your wife’s perspective, too. As times goes on he really does begin to develop a heroic streak.

    I agree, those two plot-lines set up at the end of season four, Quark’s “discommendation” and Odo’s “solidification” were disappointing in the long run and reset too quickly. Both seemed great ideas at the time but, for whatever the reason, the writers didn’t seem interested in pursuing them in any depth. Shame.
     
  7. Vash

    Vash Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    A sensitive review of "Ties of Blood and Water"-- touched on all its strengths and weaknesses, as I saw it. This was one of the more poignant, poetic episodes, offering Kira a way to work through and redeem her regret at leaving her dying father to seek revenge. Loved the scene with Yoshi…and burying Ghemor beside her biological father--blood relationships replaced with surrogates, exiles and misfits becoming family, in space, is a basic, recurring Trek theme. Also, couldn’t help thinking of Nana Visitor’s real life trauma, how long it took her to process and heal her own anger and grief.
     
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  8. kkt

    kkt Commodore Commodore

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    Yes, I'd find it easier to forgive the weapons sales gig, which they carefully crafted to stay within station regulations, than his deliberate sabotage in Invasive Procedures. (Besides in Business as Usually he had recently played a key role in saving DS9 from the Dominion and that's got to count for something.)
     
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  9. Swedish Borg

    Swedish Borg Commodore Captain

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    @ananta: Great review! I really enjoy reading your reviews, oftentimes more than I enjoyed watching the episodes.;)
    In this case for example I didn't particularly appreciate how easily Kira lets herself be manipulated by Dukat. Sure she throws a cup at him but then she does exactly what he wanted her to do, puts a stop to the sharing of information, and as a bonus turns into Nurse Ratched on a dime, all this because she "discovered" that Ghemor a higher-up in a very militaristic society... used to be a soldier!!! I didn't much sympathize with her given how she treated even her own father and the un-harshing of her mellow was too little, too late.
     
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  10. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I agree that the weapon sales bothers me a bit less, though maybe it shouldn't. Funny how 20 (million) abstract lives seem less disturbing than 7 lives of people we've "met".

    Did you get your episode sequence confused? I think Quark doesn't save DS9 until later on?
     
  11. Swedish Borg

    Swedish Borg Commodore Captain

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    Indeed, that was during the occupation of DS9 by the dominion...
     
  12. fireproof78

    fireproof78 Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Humans are very personal creatures. This actually isn't that unusual.
     
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  13. Vash

    Vash Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    The father-daughter dynamics in this episode reminded me of Ro Laren bonding with the Maquis leader Macias in “Pre-emptive Strike” TNG--another Bajoran woman who’d been traumatized by her father’s death during the Occupation, and a ‘surrogate’ father who dies by her side. Lawrence Pressman and John Franklyn-Robbins were both gentle, sympathetic father figures.
     
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  14. Swedish Borg

    Swedish Borg Commodore Captain

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    Except that it would be like Ro telling the dying Macias: "I've discovered that you didn't play the clavion as well as you said, LIAR!!"
     
  15. kkt

    kkt Commodore Commodore

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    Yes, you and Donlago are right, I had the order confused. Business as Usual was before the Dominion occupied DS9 at the end of Season 5. So I guess the regulars just decided Quark had suffered enough by not making enough money to finish clearing his debts, not getting his business license back, and even his own conscience bothering him.
     
  16. Farscape One

    Farscape One Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Great review. Spot on.

    The only things I can add are how much I love Weyoun, and the utter glee on his face as he sees Sisko while playing dabo, with his winnings raised in his hands... priceless. That HAS to be meme somewhere.

    The other thing I can add is I emailed Robert Hewitt Wolfe about this episode... the same time I was telling him how much I loved "HARD TIME". This episode can feel real and raw because it was a personal thing for him. I won't go into specifics because that's not my place, but it certainly informed me on how this great episode came to be.

    Wolfe definitely was a fantastic part of the writing staff, and for me, he was missed. Just look at the world building he started on ANDROMEDA. That show would have been FAR better had Tribune not given him the axe halfway through season 2.

    An 8 is fair, but for me personally, and being able to idetify with several aspects of this episode, I give it a 9.
     
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  17. dupersuper

    dupersuper Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I'm not saying you don't have a point, but adding more exclamation and question marks doesn't help you.

    Ewww, I hope not.
     
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  18. ananta

    ananta Captain Captain

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    Haha I’ll take that compliment, thank you!

    Actually I can understand how Kira felt. Even though she knew what Dukat was doing, if someone did the same to me and I knew I didn’t want to read it, the mind being what it is, I’d probably be tormented until I actually did. Recall that she’s a pretty wounded, traumatised person, her reactions aren’t entirely rational or kind, but PTSD colours everything. At least we saw her heal by the end and reconcile with him. It was another reminder that probably no one got through the Occupation without getting some blood on their hands (including Kai Opaka!).

    Thanks for the insight, Farscape. I could tell there may have been some personal experience at hand in the writing of this.

    I also think Wolfe was a big loss to the series...and even more so when he was booted from ANDROMEDA. That show really went down the crapper pretty fast when he left! It quickly became unwatchable to me.
     
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  19. ananta

    ananta Captain Captain

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    “FERENGI LOVE SONGS”

    [​IMG]
    Kira: “I want to slap you SO much right now. Would anyone notice?!”

    Given the strength of the Ferengi episodes we got last season (the classic Roswell parody “Little Green Men”, and the surprisingly excellent and substantive “Bar Association” and “Body Parts”), there’s no escaping a feeling of disappointment when it comes to “Ferengi Love Songs”. Whilst I loved our first trip to Ferenginar to visit Moogie (season three’s wonderful “Family Business”), for me, this is perhaps one trip too many and represents the point in the series where the rot began setting in with these Ferengi escapades. Oh, it’s nowhere NEAR the level of sheer awfulness of the following season’s Episode That Shall Not Be Named, but, some amusing moments aside, it rarely rises much above mediocrity.

    Ferengi episodes are their own little DS9 sub-genre and in order to enjoy them you really do have to put the brain into neutral and be willing to roll with the silliness and fun. “Ferengi Love Songs” mixes over-the-top melodrama with slapstick farce and whilst some of it does hit the mark, it’s no classic and rarely quite as funny as it ought to be. One of my all-time favourite sitcoms was FRASIER, which delivered a number of ingenious and hilarious high farce episodes. Watching this episode I kind of wish that Ira Behr had seen fit to hire one of FRASIER’s writers. Behr himself is fairly good at comedy and witty lines, but his skills as a comedy writer kind of reach their limit here. The comedic aspect is just a little too blunt and overblown on this one; I found the episode lacked subtlety and, for all that it’s about love, it lacked a solid emotional core, too. I certainly smiled several times and there are some fun gags (such as everyone appearing in Quark’s closet) and amusing lines (“He said that I was just using him! That I was a scheming, profit hungry female who couldn’t keep her clothes off!”), but overall it’s just not as funny or as engaging as it ought to be.

    There are some interesting ideas, such as Zek’s cognitive decline and the fact Moogie ends up the power behind the throne on Ferenginar: a storyline that sees an important shift in the Ferengi arc. The Zek/Ishka romance is played for laughs and made as deliberately annoying as possible—and while I like both characters, they were starting to grate on my nerves by the end of the episode. I think less is more should probably be the ideal with such in-your-face characters. Cecily Adams replaces Andrea Martin as Moogie and while they almost look identical physically (thanks to the heavy prosthetics), Adams doesn’t charm me the way Martin did and there’s a decidedly shrill aspect to her performance at times.

    The Brunt shenanigans didn’t carry much weight at all, and it’s disappointing to see him lose the genuine menace he possessed in his previous two appearances. While not Quark’s finest episode, Armin Shimmerman is on point throughout and very nearly manages to hold it all together. Quark starts off depressed at his lot at life before slipping back into his usual scheming, self-absorbed self, willing to sacrifice his mother’s happiness for his own gain—only to find that, to his horror, Federation values are rubbing off on him and he is developing a conscience. That’s something I’ve been enjoying watching as the series develops, although the resolution of Quark’s “discommendation” storyline is a nondescript end to a wasted storyline that had greater potential than was ever realised on screen.

    Then there’s the sub-plot. Sometimes a good B-plot has the ability to elevate an episode, but this is quite the opposite. Whereas this sub-plot could have served as a palate cleanser and given us a little reprieve from the histrionics on Ferenginar, the Rom/Leeta shenanigans only mirror the overblow, cartoonish romance between Zek and Ishka to the nth degree. I actually don’t mind Rom and Leeta together, so long as they’re only featured in small doses. These scenes pushed the limit of what I could tolerate and I found myself very much relating to Kira’s bored and completely disinterested reaction as she endured Leeta’s sobbing complaints: “Yes...yes...whatever...just deal with it, I really don’t care.” Incidentally, I have no idea why Kira and Leeta, the First Officer and a Dabo Girl, would be hanging out given they have next to nothing in common. I recall we were told that Jadzia and Leeta were supposedly besties back in season three’s “Facets” (simply to shoehorn Leeta into the Zhian’tara) only I don’t think we ever see them exchange a word for the rest of the series. Now, the idea of a culture clash between Bajoran and Ferengi values is mildly interesting, but what we got here was just...too much: too cartoonish, too over-the-top and too cloying. It might have worked better had it been a minor sub-plot in another episode, but, tied with the madcap main plot, it rather tried my patience.

    On the whole? Watchable, with some fun moments, but pretty weak compared with previous Ferengi instalments. The comedy is a little too broad and not all of it lands, while the plot isn’t very engaging and it lacks the emotional resonance and heartfelt quality that made our previous trip to Ferenginar such a treat. The sub-plot actually loses this one a whole point; I may have given it a weak 6 otherwise. Not a total misfire, but hardly a triumph. Rating: 5
     
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  20. Swedish Borg

    Swedish Borg Commodore Captain

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    Don't get me started with Kai Opaka, what she did was not just horrible, it was a crime and if someone had done something like that to say the French resistance during WWII and got caught after the liberation. They would likely have been put against a wall and shot. Sometimes weird doesn't begin to describe the logic behind some DS9 and more generally Star Trek episodes. Kai Opaka is nothing but a traitor and a murderer since by her actions she caused people to die, willfully!!