My DS9 Rewatch Odyssey

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

  1. ananta

    ananta Captain Captain

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    “FAVOR THE BOLD”

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    “Well, don’t blame me... I told you I’m not a solid anymore...”

    “Favor the Bold” is a difficult episode to review in the same way I think I’d find DISCOVERY (the first couple of seasons at least) or PICARD difficult to review. Serialised storytelling negates the distinguishable beginning/middle/end structure we expect from episodic television and instead feels more like chess pieces being moved across a board, and that’s very much the case here. That said, it’s extremely well done and I found it much more enjoyable and engaging than I remembered. Indeed, I feel it’s a step up quality-wise from “Behind the Lines”, which suffered from uneven pacing and a redundant B-plot. “Favor the Bold” has the feel of a season finale in a way, juggling multiple plot strands, building up steam as the tension mounts and beautifully interweaving a number of enjoyable character beats.

    I don’t have anything particularly profound to say about this one, but here are some assorted thoughts. I almost cheered when Sisko unveiled his plan to re-take the station, although I also wish this arc could have lasted a little longer. If DS9 was being made today I imagine the writers would happily have expanded it to encompass the entire season and there was certainly enough potential to do so. One of the things that strikes me as odd is why the Admirals are always so precious about Earth, as though it’s THE most important planet in the Federation or anywhere in the galaxy. Why the elevated status and preferential treatment of Earth over Vulcan, Andor, or any of the other founding members’ worlds? Anyway, one thing I did love to see was Sisko express his profound love of Bajor; something that only seems appropriate given that the Sisko is “of Bajor”.

    Odo’s defection to Team Dominion is another thread running through the episode and it doesn’t advance much here. Clearly the Founder is manipulating and influencing his behaviour; he seems lost and confused, yet utterly addicted to his Changeling sexytime. One scene that did make me cringe was the bedroom scene (“so that is how solids experience intimacy...”). I just found it awkward, clunky and somewhat embarrassing. I’d happily have seen that scene hit the cutting room floor, although it does let us see that, in spite of his action/inaction in the previous episode, Odo is still torn apart by his feelings for Kira and how the Founder is wilfully using that to manipulate and twist his mind. Basically, Odo is a mess and the scene where he tries to speak with Kira shows just how badly he has fucked things up. While DS9 was renowned for it’s “torture O’Brien” episodes, I actually think it was Odo that got tortured the most during the show’s run.

    On other fronts, it’s nice to see Nog promoted to Ensign and I also like the fact Morn gets to play a small but significant role in the arc! Gotta love the old windbag. Rom again displays remarkable courage, while Leeta manages to be remarkably annoying even though she’s only on screen for a couple of minutes (less is definitely more with this one). The past few episodes have given us some great character development for Quark as he continues to nervously aid Kira and the resistance, and Armin Shimmerman shines throughout. Last, but by no means least, we are treated to Kira kicking Damar’s arrogant, sneering ass and it’s a joyous moment, even if it strains credulity that Damar wouldn’t put up more of a fight—after all, he’s bigger and surely must be stronger than she is. I have to say Damar is an incredibly unpleasant character at this point in the series, which makes the unexpected twist his character takes next season all the more remarkable.

    All in all, this is a transition episode and you can hear the sound of cogs in motion. It’s elevated, however, by the solid execution: namely a great script by Ira Behr and Hans Beimler that delivers so many wonderful, joyous character moments along with an impending sense of danger and doom, and Winrich Kolbe’s strong directing, which keeps the pace taut and the atmosphere electrified. It’s pretty much just build-up, but it serves its purpose superbly and is compelling throughout. Rating: 9
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2021
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  2. Vash

    Vash Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Always a pleasure to read these reviews, and this is no exception! “Favor the bold” shows how the series keeps its focus on the characters--a lot of them-- even in the midst of the long war epic. Not much action, but setting the stage, raising the stakes. Loved how Damar confides in Quark, even before getting drunk….Morn’s gift secretly carrying the message to Sisko….Kira’s swift knockdown of Damar, and her harsh rebuke of Odo. Glad we were spared an image of Odo in bed with the female Changeling - ! too bad Salome Jens didn’t look like her younger self...she was quite attractive.
     
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  3. ananta

    ananta Captain Captain

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    Odo did admit at one point that the link is sexual in nature, and certainly the way it’s portrayed would confirm that (the CGI used to show the linking in “The Search”, in particular, shows what looks like kissing and some pelvic thrusting!). Heck, we literally see them in bed in the next episode. But there’s definitely much more to sex than simple pleasure seeking. It isn’t only physical but also psychological, perhaps offering a sense of connection, belonging, and the sense of being loved, cared for or validated. I didn’t get the feeling Odo was motivated by pure lust or pleasure, but by all of the above.

    I love your reference to Saru being freed of his fear. There may be similarities here; Odo finally being freed of his sense of disconnection and aloneness. It’s a powerful idea, although the way it was executed here was only partially successful because we never REALLY get much into Odo’s head. It’s all a bit vague and undercooked. I guess if the writers hadn’t been juggling so many other elements and the episode had solely focused on Odo’s story it might have felt a bit more fleshed out.
     
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  4. Swedish Borg

    Swedish Borg Commodore Captain

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    @ananta: Great review! Very nice episode although it does raise some questions. Like how the hell can two changelings experience sex when they're not even equipped with all the senses solids have like smell and taste... Even if they develop the appendages necessary for that activity doesn't mean that they will feel the pleasure associated with it.

    Anyway, Rom is elevated by this episode to the rank of hero it's a shame that he hasn't been properly honored by Starfleet after that. There should have been a decoration ceremony with an admiral pinning a medal on Rom's chest!!!

    What a bunch of ingrates!
     
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  5. ananta

    ananta Captain Captain

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    Thanks Vash :)

    Yeah, the Changelings doing it human-style is pretty ridiculous when you think about it, so it’s one of those moments that are best not to think about!
    I also hope Rom got recognition of his heroism. At the very least, I hope they stopped assigning him to waste extraction (I still have no idea what “waste extraction” actually means, and I don’t think I any to know!)
     
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  6. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Doesn't the episode make it clear that the main reason the two Changelings have sex solid-style is because the Female Changeling has an almost academic curiosity about it? I figured the whole point of the scene was to once again punctuate how far removed she is from having any empathy for solids, while also probing (er, not physically...I assume...) Odo a bit.

    To me the scene was very much that of one where two people have had sex and one of them finds out after the fact that their partner isn't all they hoped.
     
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  7. Vash

    Vash Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    It did seem like they were basically curious, experimenting --but for 3 days ?!
    The female Changeling’s complaint about spoken words reminds me of TOS, “Is there in truth no beauty” when Spock links with the Medusans-- his obvious delight in the experience, and reluctance to end the connection--

    How compact your bodies are. And what a variety of senses you have. This thing you call language though, most remarkable. You depend on it for so very much. But is any one of you really its master?

    I guess the link could also be compared to the spores’ effect in “This side of Paradise”…well-being, intimacy, belonging.
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2021
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  8. Farscape One

    Farscape One Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Another great review! Love the caption!

    Personally, I never found Leeta annoying. At times, certainly... but not overall. I might be a bit biased, as she is VERY easy on the eyes. (I met her at a convention years ago. Delightful woman... and still looks damned sexy.)

    Your chess piece analogy for this episode is apt... it reminds me of "CALL TO ARMS" in that way. There, all the pieces were moving around to get the war started. Just like that episode, this one also delivers excellent character beats for everyone. (I still rate "CALL TO ARMS" higher, though it may partly be due to it actually being a season finale instead of just feeling like one.)

    When this first aired, the moment Sisko tells Dax his plan, I smiled and just yelled "YEEEEEEAH!!!" I still do on some rewatches.

    You have to smile at the fact that at the end of the day, the reason why the Dominion didn't win was because of Morn, of all people.

    Great episode! I give it a 9, too.
     
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  9. Farscape One

    Farscape One Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    3 days of experimenting sexually... sounds like a Woodstock concert. :)

    I always did wonder how their experimenting finished. More to the point, was the goo reabsorbed?

    Your comparison to "THIS SIDE OF PARADISE"... love it. I think it's spot on.
     
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  10. Swedish Borg

    Swedish Borg Commodore Captain

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    That's nothing, when Wotan had sex with Fricka it lasted three centuries.
     
  11. fireproof78

    fireproof78 Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Excellent review as always, and I love the setting up pieces for this big push, something anticipated with Sisko leaving his baseball on the desk.

    As for Odo, I'll freely admit to not like Odo all that much. This arc is one of those ones that works better for me because it does something a little bit different with the outside character. Odo is a character who is truly different from his compatriots. For the longest time was the only one of his kind known. There was no one that he could relate or even go back to until the Dominion was found. And then the Federation went through a whole fear of the Founders, including an attempted coup. Now, Odo has a chance to actually be a part of something. Something denied him his entire existence. And the Female Changeling is showing to him that he doesn't belong with the solids, and that's what I took the 3 day scene to imply.

    So, this arc solidified (pun intended) Odo as a more enjoyable character than before.
     
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  12. StarMan

    StarMan Vice Admiral Premium Member

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    I especially enjoyed the scene between The Female Changeling and Weyoun in this episode. As soon as he implies she is there to "neutralise" Odo, she puts him in his place and clarifies The Link's priorities. Weyoun's deer-in-a-headlights expression when he realised he'd been a bit too familiar with one of his deities was wonderfully played by Combs
     
  13. Swedish Borg

    Swedish Borg Commodore Captain

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    It only shows that Weyoun is a slave who's treated like an object to be disposed of at a whim. If anything it shows how despicable the founders are, even with the people who worship them. It's funny how these super-villains are turned into good guys on a dime at the end. Imagine the nazis at the end of WWII giving out flowers, that would be just as absurd.
     
  14. StarMan

    StarMan Vice Admiral Premium Member

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    Not sure I recall The Founders going down that path. Especially not after "all of them - the entire population".
     
  15. Farscape One

    Farscape One Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    The Founders certainly were not shown as being good guys by the end. Slightly sympathetic only because of the disease that was about to exterminate them, and even that's stretching it a lot. Frankly, with everything they have done in their history, it would have been rather poetic justice.
     
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  16. Swedish Borg

    Swedish Borg Commodore Captain

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    They would torture entire planets for centuries with tailor-made plagues.
     
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  17. ananta

    ananta Captain Captain

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    Changelings having human-style sex would just be like play-acting IMO, and probably no more pleasurable than something sticking their finger in and out your nostril. If she was curious, they could have just stuck on some porn, which I’m certain must exist in the 24th century.
     
  18. ananta

    ananta Captain Captain

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    “SACRIFICE OF ANGELS”

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    “And this is what you get for leaving a crap review of my bar on Tripadvisor!”

    This may be a controversial opinion, but controversy be damned—I loved this episode and consider it a satisfying conclusion to DS9’s ambitious and paradigm-shattering Occupied Station arc. Given Star Trek’s track record when it came to multi-part stories—namely concluding parts that invariably prove disappointing to varying degrees—I was very much apprehensive that the writers might mess up the ending here. Fortunately, I needn’t have worried. It’s not entirely perfect, for some elements get a little lost in the mix, but “Sacrifice of Angels” is nevertheless a thrilling piece of television: immersive, rousing, action-packed and emotional; an episode which kicks ass and takes numbers while never once forgetting the characters at the heart of the action.

    Writers Ira Behr and Hans Beimler deserve high kudos for their masterful job of juggling the various plot strands and character arcs which, in lesser hands, could easily have spiralled into an incoherent mess. Behr became a master of these “blockbuster” type episodes, and he excels with this brilliant blend of engaging, provocative characterisation and bold, high-stakes space opera, which, for me, ranks as one of DS9’s high watermarks. Of course, you can’t have a war storyline without some ferocious battle scenes; and this episode provides one on a scale Star Trek could only have ever dreamt of in the past. It’s breath-taking to watch, and the SFX, rendered entirely in CGI for the first time in Trek history, still look incredible well over two decades on (as evidenced by the remastering for the “What We Left Behind” documentary).

    Sisko and Dukat were born to be adversaries and, for me, are right up there with Kirk and Khan Noonian Singh in the book of Trek nemeses. Even though they share only a single, brief scene toward the end, it’s a powerhouse, and Avery Brooks and Marc Alaimo are in fire throughout the episode, with Brooks’ passion igniting the screen and Alaimo delivering perhaps his finest performance of the series. Of course, it’s a momentous turn of events for the Cardassian despot, with a gut-wrenching twist as Dukat loses both the upper hand and his tenuous grip on sanity.

    Before that, we’re treated to a fascinating, if lengthy, scene between Dukat and Weyoun in the Captain’s office which truly reveals Dukat for the malignant narcissist he is (“a true victory is to make them see they were wrong to oppose you in the first place; to force them to acknowledge your greatness!”). The bigger the ego, the greater the fall, and Dukat’s eventual defeat shatters both his ego and his sanity. Ziyal’s shocking death is more powerful and affecting than I could have anticipated, and the directing, music and Alaimo’s brilliant performance render it a truly heartbreaking moment. For all that Dukat is a monster, it’s hard not to feel sorry for him as he cradles her body, and it would seem he had genuine love for her (although, being a narcissist, it may simply have been that Ziyal’s more or less unconditional love of him served his pathological need for approval and adulation).

    Ah, Ziyal, we hardly knew ye. Although the character was harmed by the revolving door of actresses that played her, I liked her, even if her potential was sadly never realised in the series. Her relationship with Garak, which was kind of a cross between unrequited schoolgirl crush and puppydog adulation, never quite clicked for me, although Andrew Robinson does give a great job conveying Garak’s fondness for her and sense of loss upon her death. I wish we’d gotten to see more of her sister/mentor relationship with Kira and perhaps a friendship with Jake. Alas, it was not to be. It seems only right that not all of the crew survive this tumultuous stretch of episodes, so, realistically, someone had to bite the dust.

    A number of other storylines converge during the course of forty-five eventual minutes, including Odo’s defection to the Dark Side. We still never quite learn WHY he turned against Kira and treated her as though she meant nothing to him in “Behind the Lines” when it’s clear that he’s still tormented by his feelings for her. I guess he was simply overcome by confusion and divided loyalty. I loved the final, subtle scene with the Founder in his quarters where he simply states he will stay in his quarters and she acquiesces; both characters know the subtext, yet nothing more is said. Rene Auberjonois and Salome Jens have done some fantastic work these past few episodes in one of the show’s more complicated and toxic relationships. In my mind, Odo has been the victim of psychological abuse and coercion and he temporarily lost his sense of self; all of which elicit my sympathy rather than condemnation. His act of redemption makes for an uplifting moment, although the lack of long term consequences (or any consequences whatsoever) definitely blunt the impact of this storyline in retrospect.

    The “ticking clock” element of the episode—the race to prevent Dukat from taking down the minefield—works well, contributing to the episode’s mounting sense of tension. It also leads to one of my favourite moments of the entire seven years: Quark’s heroic jailbreak and rescue of Kira and company. What a long way our lovable Ferengi has come since the show’s early days. He displays a bravery and selflessness many probably never thought he had in him, including perhaps himself. The look on his face as he guns down the Jem’Hadar guards speaks volumes: fear, shock, indignation and horror (feel free to contradict me, but it’s likely Quark has never fired a weapon at someone in his life). It’s wonderful to behold and I love that, as a result, we see a notable softening of the crew’s attitude toward him in future episodes, notably Kira’s.

    Right, I’ve saved the tough bit for last: namely the frequently lamented final twist involving the Prophets. I’m going to go against the grain and say that I thought it was a stroke of genius. Now, I know many people view it as a cop-out and a dues ex machina—and, in a literal sense of the phrase, it is. That said, a true dues ex machina incorporates a completely new, previously unused element into the story that solves the crisis through no agency of the primary characters. The Prophets, however, are not a new story element; they’ve been an integral part of the show’s tapestry since the very first episode and they play a significant role in the show’s narrative, and Sisko has to fight hard to get them to intervene. (Although I do think less people would have complained if this had been foreshadowed in the last few episodes, perhaps with Sisko having a Prophet vision, or even mentioning them in passing). If anything, it’s only logical that Sisko would turn to them having exhausted all other options, and I kind of wish that had been his intent when he piloted the Defiant into the wormhole.

    Now, while the Prophets do indeed agree to intervene and displace the Dominion fleet, they do so at a COST, and they make it clear that there will be consequences. This is something I think a lot of people overlook as they decry this twist as some kind of lame cheat. It’s not a cheat—it’s a pivotal moment that changes the direction of the series and the determines the fate of its lead character. Indeed, Sisko basically seals his own fate here. That’s why, although the Prophets agree to intervene, they tell Sisko that his destiny will follow another path and that while he is “off Bajor”, he will “find no rest there”. At the time, we had no idea what that meant and whether or not the writers would follow through on it.

    This is actually a vital moment in the show’s run, because what Sisko does here is create a new timeline. By eradicating the Dominion reinforcements, the station is not only reclaimed by Starfleet, as Sisko intended, but it also had the unforeseen consequence of causing Dukat’s mental collapse. This breakdown will lead Dukat down a dark and twisted path in which he eventually becomes an instrument of the Pah Wraiths and will very nearly destroy both Bajor and the Prophets and who knows what else. I think it’s fairly safe to say that this would never have happened had the Prophets not intervened and stopped the Dominion fleet. Sisko “will find no rest” because he must atone for this change he initiated in the timeline and the unintended consequences it caused. Those who think this twist is just cheap cop-out storytelling aren’t looking at the bigger picture. Whether one likes the Pah Wraith storyline or not, this is still one of the key moments of the entire series, and the moment that seals Sisko’s fate in the final episode. We won’t see it for a while, but Sisko has basically sacrificed his life to save the Alpha Quadrant. The sacrifice of angels, indeed.

    I could probably write pages more on this one. There’s just SO much going on, it’s almost overwhelming. Some elements get just a little fudged over (Odo’s redemption just gets a few simple beats) and some feel just a tad convenient (such as that old cliche of the Klingons appearing on the battlefield just in the nick of time), but I think it all comes together pretty darn brilliantly in an episode that certainly ranks among the show’s finest and most eminently rewatchable. Allan Kroeker’s directing is superb, the pace is electrifying, and the performances, music and visual effects are uniformly brilliant. What a ride. Rating: 10
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2021
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  19. StarMan

    StarMan Vice Admiral Premium Member

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    Great review. You're giving Jammer a run for his money.

    Ship porn doesn't get much better than Sacrifice of Angels.

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    But seriously, I remember when I first saw this episode ... jaw dropping. Yes, there had been other large scale engagements before, but this was just another level and delivered on the tease left to us in A Call To Arm's closing shot.
     
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  20. Bad Thoughts

    Bad Thoughts Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    In the previous episode, Sisko is reading the prophesies, works that are not just about the Prophets, but about Sisko himself.
     
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