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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    Mar 13, 2020
    “STATISTICAL PROBABILITIES”

    [​IMG]
    “Wanna hang with the not-so-cool kids?”

    “Statistical Probabilities” marks a welcome return to form following the previous episode’s misfire. I particularly love the way it integrates an initially small-scale and refreshingly offbeat story with the show’s overarching narrative.

    When the season’s opening arc concluded with “Sacrifice of Angels”, I initially expected the Dominion war to end there and then. I had no idea the writers would keep the war storyline going for the duration of the show’s run. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad they did, because there was certainly a whole lot more to be mined from it. However, they now had a delicate balancing to perform. How would they maintain an ongoing war arc while returning to predominantly episodic stories centring on self-contained character drama? Too much focus on the war would have engendered too bleak a tone for a Star Trek series (indeed, one of the reasons I’ve never felt compelled to rewatch the Battlestar Galactica reboot was precisely that unrelentingly bleakness) and too little would render it unconvincing and half-assed. This episode strikes a good balance. It begins as an isolated character piece and then branches out to tackle the very fate of the Alpha Quadrant, demonstrating just how tough the situation is without having to show a single shot being fired.

    Something else the episode does well is to introduce of a vivid group of characters unlike any we’ve ever really met in the Star Trek universe before. A number of years ago, I worked in social care helping adults with learning needs and I have to say this episode isn’t altogether inaccurate in its depiction of what I think now gets termed “neuro-divergent” people. Jack, in particular, is a well-realised character, and Tim Ransom does a superb job bringing him to life; from his manic demeanour, to the volatile bursts of emotion and aggression underscored by often misdirected intelligence. The other characters are painted with broader strokes yet they’re also effective to varying degrees. Michael Keenan captures Patrick’s childlike innocence perfectly and Faith C. Salie does a great job as the catatonic Serena, managing to convey a great deal of depth with her eyes alone. Hilary Shepard Turner also triumphs as Lauren, even though the script doesn’t give her a whole lot to work with other than cliched “sex maniac”. It seems lazy on the part of the writers to root Lauren’s entire character in her hyper-sexuality (particularly as this comes straight after another episode featuring the sex-crazed Intendant), but there you have it. While I love DS9’s writing staff to bits, quite often the lack of a female writer on staff shows.

    Anyway, the premise is nicely set up and provides a welcome follow-up to the previous season’s “Doctor Bashir, I Presume?” Again, I’d half-expected the revelation about Bashir’s genetic enhancement to be shunted to the background following that episode and never really explored again. After all, that’s what generally happened in Star Trek, so I was, once again, delighted to be proven wrong. Writers Pam Pietroforte and Rene Echevarria raise some interesting questions about the role of genetic engineering in the Trek universe and the Federation’s treatment of these people certainly raises an eyebrow. I found it interesting that our guests were kept in a cargo bay rather than assigned quarters, almost giving the subconscious impression that they are seen more as objects than people.

    It’s great fun watching them become utterly absorbed analysing Damar’s speech and, of course, Bashir quickly gets involved in their staggeringly detailed projections on the outcome of the war. There’s an excellent scene in Sisko’s office where the Captain basically pours cold water over Bashir, refusing to accept his projections as anything other than educated guesswork. Initially, I assumed the episode’s theme related to how even the most marginalised of people can prove their worth and contribute to society. Of course, all that falls through and the ultimate message turns out to be that even the smartest of people can be wrong. Indeed, with all their genetically engineered genius, I seriously doubt Jack and friends would ever have been able to predict the role the Prophets played in defeating the Dominion fleet and allowing Sisko the retake the station. No matter how smart you are, and how informed your arguments, there’s simply no way to accurately predict the future. Life is beset with countless hidden variables that can never be accounted for.

    On other fronts, it was great to see the return of Damar and Weyoun, and Casey Biggs is particularly impressive as a man who is clearly unhappy at being appointed as the new head of the Cardassian government. It’s certainly not a role he seems suited for, and I suspect a large part of the reason he was appointed is that Weyoun can control and coerce him, as we see here. Not that I have any sympathy for him at this point given that his brutal and unnecessary murder of Ziyal is still fresh in our minds. It’s the start of an absolutely fascinating and highly effective character arc, however.

    I think that about covers it. “Statistical Probabilities” is a thought-provoking and, for the most part, intelligently written episode with some interesting themes and twists. There’s a nicely offbeat tone to the first few acts in particular, as exemplified by the gloriously surreal cargo bay waltz to “The Blue Danube”. It’s refreshing to see a bunch of characters who don’t fit the 24th century mould and they’re beautifully performed, with Alexander Siddig also in great form as their host, the conflicted Bashir. A flashpoint for the show’s overarching narrative, it also offers some neat foreshadowing of events to come, such as the Romulans joining the war effort and the possibility of an anti-Dominion resistance movement surfacing on Cardassia. Rating: 8
     
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2021
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  2. freethinker

    freethinker Lieutenant Commander Newbie

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    Well, it's the first time we learn that Nog is interested in Starfleet.
     
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  3. freethinker

    freethinker Lieutenant Commander Newbie

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    “STATISTICAL PROBABILITIES” is definitely a fun-filled episode that I haven't watched for some time so I may be confusing with the other "mutant" episode. In this one, I believe they dance and in the other one, they sing. Anyway, I like it very much and also your analysis of it which is aces.
     
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  4. Farscape One

    Farscape One Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    As usual, great review!

    One thing that this episode brings back to the forefront is Bashir's arrogance, something he got better at but would still boil to the surface once in a while... "THE QUICKENING" is a great example, and with Dax very rightly calling him out on it when he exclaims there is no cure simply because he couldn't find one. It's a trait he had from the start of the show, but it's actually one that serves him well at times, like "THE WIRE" when he seeks out Tain for the information... plus, his profession almost guarantees a level of arrogance.

    O'Brien did here what Dax did before... splash some cold water on his face when he said he understood Bashir's stuff, but just didn't agree with it. It's telling how these are the only two people he would actually listen to in terms of being called out on his arrogance. In some ways, as the show went on and their relationships grew to strong friendships, you could almost see Dax and O'Brien as somewhat parental figures for Bashir, as he had a bad relationship with his own. At the very least, a part of him seeks some level of approval because these are older, wiser people that have seen a LOT in their lives. To his credit, Bashir does end up acknowledging his own possible fallacy, though it did take getting knocked out to do it. His speech to Jack about not even being able to predict what happened in that single room was great stuff.

    I LOVED Sisko's response to the suggestion of surrender. From the second he smacked down the padd to the end of the scene. Completely agreed with him.

    Weyoun and Damar sneaking around... that just made me laugh. Every other scene you can tell who is really holding the puppet strings.

    This episode also shows just how long term the Dominion thinks, and that was one thing the Jack Pack was dead on about. We've seen this before, but never was it said so clearly stated by a character.

    Overall, a fun episode that was still standalone, but helped the overall narrative of the war. I think an 8 is fair.
     
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  5. Vash

    Vash Commander Red Shirt

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    A thorough and perceptive review....glad you found the four dysfunctional savants believably written. I was surprised this was one of Siddig’s favorite episodes, since he disliked the first focus on his DNA resequencing. In this one, he liked how it dealt with the moral issue of whether to incarcerate the 'mutants' who had no control over their genetic engineering; and he felt Bashir’s character was much more vulnerable. The fact they were kept in the cargo bay was disturbing, as you point out.

    The other ethical dilemma, whether to fight a war where defeat seems certain….also intriguing. It would have been impossible to factor in Sisko’s successful plea to the Prophets to stop the Dominion ships in the wormhole-- that ‘variable’ seems to be completely forgotten. Not sure how that could have been handled any differently. One of the things that makes DS9 so unique.
     
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2021
  6. ananta

    ananta Captain Captain

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    “THE MAGNIFICENT FERENGI”

    [​IMG]
    Relax, you’re in good hands with the Ferengi Avengers! Unless we happen to accidentally kill you (and, as it explicitly states in the contract—we can’t guarantee that we won’t).

    The Ferengi were very much an acquired taste on DS9. But, whereas I recall a fair number of fans lamenting each and every Ferengi outing during the show’s original run, I felt they added a great comedic value to show and, far from the gravely misconceived failed-villains they were on TNG, found them to be both entertaining and endearing. It helped that, aside from the Sisko clan, they were also Trek’s first extended family; and a wacky, dysfunctional yet strangely heart-warming family at that. There was a segment of the fandom that seemed to loathe light-hearted Trek episodes with every inch of their soul. I can see why such people wouldn’t be fond of the Ferengi episodes, for they certainly needed to be taken with a large pinch of salt. If, however, you’re capable of doing that, there’s a huge amount of fun to be had and nowhere is that more evident than “The Magnificent Ferengi”, which I think may have been the greatest of all the Ferengi episodes and one of the best comedy episodes Star Trek ever produced.

    Admittedly, the basic premise requires an enormous suspension of disbelief. First of all, I’m not really sure WHY the Dominion would take Moogie prisoner. Even if they somehow knew she was the Grand Nagus’s feeeemale, what possible interest would they have in the Ferengi in the first place? Another far more egregious plot contrivance is that Zek hires Quark to rescue his mother. Quark—really? Quite what he’s thinking, I don’t know—unless it’s his senility rearing its ugly head. The Ferengi have a fleet of military ships, as we often saw on TNG, so why not despatch a Ferengi vessel with trained crew? As we see, Quark has no ship, no experience doing much apart from tending bar and a little scheming and petty theft on the side. The fact that Quark and the team he assembles are so hilariously inept underscores the fundamental lack of logic to the story.

    However, if you can accept that, this episode is, quite frankly, comedy gold. Ira Behr and Hans Beimler turn in one of their finest and funniest scripts and coupled with the brilliant performances and some great directing by Chip Chalmers (who shows superb aptitude for physical comedy), you have an episode that’s engaging, charming and at times downright hilarious. Yeah, you probably need an appreciation of slapstick and the final act or so necessitates a rather black sense of humour, but I still challenge anyone to tell me this episode isn’t a genuine hoot.

    Quark assembles a team of Ferengi Avengers and while it’s a lot to juggle no less than six characters, it works brilliantly. We have Quark, determined to prove that he’s just as heroic as those boring old Starfleeters; Rom, whose courage is still sadly trumped by his inherently bumbling demeanour; and the incredibly earnest Nog, who fancies himself as something of a wannabe-Worf. Cousin Gaila joins the team, and it seems that several months of prison following the events of “Business as Usual” have rather blunted his rough edges, because he possesses very little of the menace we saw in his initial appearance, although he’s still great fun to watch. Jeffrey Combs’ Brunt is also far tamer these days, but no less watchable. Last, and by no means least, is the fantastically un-Ferengi-like bounty hunter Leck. This twisted, bloodthirsty guy is an absolute scream, boasting a number of great lines and a winning performance by Hamilton Camp, who I’d have loved to have seen make a return appearance in the series. Incidentally, this only makes six Ferengi; given the title, I kept waiting for another to appear to make up the “magnificent seven”. I always supposed that Zek was to have been the seventh and I was nearly right; it was originally Zek that was to be captured by the Dominion, but Shawn, the prolific actor that he is, was unavailable.

    One of the episode’s highlights is a hilariously disastrous trial run in the holosuite, in which everything that can go wrong does, and “Moogie” ends up toast (with Leck figuring he might as well “put her out of her misery”). The action then shifts to Empok Nor, enabling the producers to save a bit of money by simply re-lighting the existing sets, and we’re also reintroduced to the deplorable Keevan from “Rocks and Shoals”, who will serve as their prisoner exchange. Christopher Shea is a delight throughout, perfectly conveying the haughty Vorta’s contempt (“I hate Ferengi”) right up to his unfortunate and untimely demise. The latter scenes are, frankly, of questionable taste, but they’re also genuinely hilarious and laugh out loud funny—particularly Yelgrun’s horrified reaction: “what have they done to him?”

    Speaking of Yelgrun, this episode is, of course, notable for a wholly unexpected guest appearance by Iggy Pop. I always tend to forget about his guest appearance until I come to this episode and am pleasantly surprised by the sheer randomness of it. His performance is understated but delightfully deadpan and adds to the lunacy.

    Overall, this episode is a comedic triumph and one of the funniest episodes of Star Trek ever made. Yeah, it doesn’t bear much scrutiny plot-wise, but it’s just so fun and delightful that I can’t imagine watching it and not smiling throughout and feeling genuinely uplifted. “The Magnificent Ferengi” boasts a crackling script filled with great lines, lovely performances all round, effective physical comedy, wonderful comedic timing and an infectious sense of fun, silliness and charm. It may be the show’s greatest Ferengi episode and one we should cherish, because the next Ferengi instalment would be the absolute nadir of the show’s seven years. I was going to give it a strong 9, but for sheer enjoyment I think it warrants a Rating: 10
     
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  7. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I loved the sheer randomness of Quark and Rom popping out of the crawlway and into Sisko's office. :)
     
  8. FanST

    FanST Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    That holosuite scene with Moogie and the Jem Hadar makes me laugh every time.
     
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  9. Vash

    Vash Commander Red Shirt

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    Enjoyed the review! Funniest scene for me was Keevan's remote-controlled hobbling in the prisoner exchange - and Yelgrun "what have they done to him?!" - priceless. Reminded me of "Spock's Brain" and "Fistful of Datas."
     
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  10. Farscape One

    Farscape One Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Regarding keeping the Jack Pack in a cargo bay... I actually thought that to be very believable. Given they were in a psychiatric hospital and are prone to various kinds of emotional outbursts and fits of violence, most notably Jack, the only real alternative was to have them in a cell... and they would be in separate ones if that happened. That wouldn't be really fair to what Bashir was trying to accomplish, so it made sense to convert a cargo bay into a large set of quarters for the 4 of them. It has the twofold benefit of having a single spot to keep an eye on them and assuring they stay together because they are more likely to be better behaved while together. I really think it was as simple as that.


    "THE MAGNIFICENT FERENGI"... excellent review for an excellent comedy! One of the best comedies of the franchise.

    As strange as this sounds, I can see Zek only calling on Quark to rescue Ishka. For one thing, a military strike by a Ferengi ship would certainly plunge the Ferengi Alliance into the war. I cannot see the Nagus doing that. He also likely kept their relationship secret from the public, particularly because of her being found earning profit by the FCA in season 3. That would have damaged his standing as Nagus overall to the empire. Plus, Quark would be much more motivated to rescue her because it's his mom. I do agree that the entire reason for the Dominion taking her in the first place requires the brain to be shut off, but sometimes it's better to just go along with an episode... especially one that is THIS level of fun and hilarious.

    One of the funniest moments is when, after Keevan tells them in no uncertain terms to get their wills in order, all but Quark look back at the camera at the exact same time! If memory serves, that was done in ONE TAKE!

    Iggy Pop as a Vorta is a very interesting acting exercise for him, because he is SO physical a person that him being cast as such a subdued character in terms of movement seems odd. It actually adds to the comedy of the episode if you know about the man. (Ira Steven Behr is a huge fan of his, and tried for years to get him on DS9. During filming of this, he made the extremely rare appearance on set. I would have done exactly that. Rank has its privileges...)

    I must also applaud your captions... they are such a delight and highlight! A Ferengi comedy that even surpasses "LITTLE GREEN MEN", and that's a hard bar to clear. Definitely rate this a 10... just like "IN THE CARDS", it's almost impossible to be in a bad mood after watching this.
     
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  11. freethinker

    freethinker Lieutenant Commander Newbie

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    That's definitely the best Ferengi episode ever made with LGM being a close second...
    I am not troubled by gallows humor, I think it has its charms. Each character was played just right and contrary to some I don't think that Iggy Pop was bad. I think he played his character adequately.

    There are plenty of funny moments like:

    Nog checking Moogie's solidness with a big serrated knife...

    The remote-controlled Keevan (hilarious)

    The whole holodeck scene.

    Great times!

    And before I forget, outstanding review as well. Do you do something like that for a living?
    Because you should think about it.;)
     
  12. ananta

    ananta Captain Captain

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    “WALTZ”

    [​IMG]
    “What are you laughing at? Did I sit on another thorn?!”

    “Waltz” is a tough episode to review; I guess because I have decidedly mixed feelings about it and still am not quite sure how to rate it. First of all, the oblique title seems to deliberately call “Duet” to mind; an episode I think may have served as an inspiration or template for this one. Creating another “Duet” is certainly a commendable, if lofty ambition, and while I wholeheartedly applaud such ambition, I’m afraid “Waltz” falls considerably short of it. That’s not to say it’s not without merit, however, because the first four acts are generally excellent. Things fall apart in the messy, problematic final act, but I’ll get to that in a moment.

    First of all, let’s be honest, this was an episode never destined to win points for innovation. The basic premise is as old as the hills: two enemies stranded on a desert island together—or, this being 90’s Trek, that ruddy cave set. Oh, and with just a touch of “MISERY” thrown in. It also reminded me a lot of TNG’s seventh season episode “Liaisons”, although, fortunately for Sisko, Dukat isn’t trying to get into his pants. Despite the tired premise, the episode has a whole lot of potential and Sisko and Dukat have always proven a highly watchable double act. The set-up works fairly well, and it’s fascinating to see what has become of Dukat following his “temporary instability”, as he puts it.

    Of course, when Sisko and Dukat end up stranded on Planet “Misery” (as I’m henceforth calling it), it quickly becomes clear that Dukat’s instability was anything but temporary. We see him interacting with figments of his imagination; or, rather, aspects of his mind embodied by familiar faces; namely Kira, Damar and Weyoun. It’s an interesting idea, even if it’s something we’ve seen better done before (such as TNG’s “Frame of Mind” and even, to an extent, DS9’s own “Distant Voices”). I kind of wish it had been fleshed out a little more; perhaps incorporating Ziyal as the voice of Dukat’s conscience; a voice I imagine that would soon have been drowned out by the others. Most effective is Kira serving as an avatar for Dukat’s vicious and unrelenting inner critic, which seems highly appropriate.

    While things start off amicably enough, if a little strained, it’s only a matter of time before tension mounts and Sisko becomes aware that something is deeply amiss with Dukat, who evidently doesn’t want to be rescued. The dialogue between the two is excellently constructed for the most part, leading to an inevitable showdown, in which Dukat tries to justify his actions during the Occupation by painting himself as the victim. Yes, really! I think we can all agree now that Dukat exhibits all the hallmarks of a malignant narcissist, and that, coupled with what appears to be a clear case of schizophrenia, makes for a dangerously volatile and noxious combination. Sisko—you in danger, man!

    It’s grimly fascinating to watch how desperate Dukat is for approval and how weak his ego actually is. Without intending to get political here, those are traits I often noticed in former US President Trump; a man who would behave with rigid authoritarianism, happy to ruthlessly bulldoze his enemies to the ground, but who actually had an extremely delicate, fragile sense of self, and a pathological desperation for approval. For the narcissist, one’s own ego and self-image are basically God, and they must be protected, enhanced and elevated at all costs—even if it means losing yourself in a world of lies and delusion. Of course, Sisko can only stomach so much of this bullshit before he says the wrong thing, inflicting “narcissistic injury” on Dukat, and suffering the resultant rage and violence.

    Up to this point, underlying cliches aside, it’s been a pretty much excellent episode; possibly even a 9 or 10. The drama between Sisko and Dukat is well-written, tense and excellently performed by both Avery Brooks and Marc Alaimo. But here’s where things start to fall apart. Dukat is clearly experiencing a psychotic break. It’s explicitly demonstrated that he is suffering from some kind of schizophrenic condition in which he’s seeing things that aren’t actually there. Sisko picks up on this, too. However, rather than manoeuvring with the appropriate restraint and trying to calm him down, Sisko allows himself to be drawn into Dukat’s delusions, and engages him in argument as if he were a sane and rational man. BIG MISTAKE, Ben. Now, Sisko certainly isn’t wrong in his indictment of Dukat. The guy is basically Hitler. But I always remember a great proverb (which actually keeps me from getting into many arguments on the internet!): “If you get into an argument with a fool, the fool wins.” What Sisko does is send Dukat spiralling into an ever deepening and more violent rage, in which he eventually snaps and declares that he wishes every last Bajoran were dead and that he had “turned their planet into a graveyard the likes of which the galaxy has never seen!”

    The episode ends with Dukat and Sisko desperately wrestling to get the only shuttle off Planet Misery. Dukat makes it off the planet, his hallucinations in tow, but not before off flying into a horrifyingly manic rage, pledging to destroy all of Bajor. Sisko soon gets rescued and tells Dax that while he always tended to view life, and people, in shades of grey, he’s decided that Dukat is “pure EVIL” and that, basically, he must be destroyed. This black and white closing scene has rubbed a lot of people up the wrong way over the years, and rightly so. I guess it’s only natural that Sisko is pissed with Dukat big style at the moment (who wouldn’t be?), so he’s understandably uncharitable in his words. Unfortunately, it’s just a poorly executed scene in which it’s clear the writers are speaking through Sisko. Indeed, they’ve gone on record as saying they wrote “Waltz” to shake viewers free of their rose-tinted perspective on Dukat and to make them see that he is, in fact, nothing but eeeevil.

    That’s all good and well, but the enormous problem I have with the episode is the way it conflates mental illness with evil. The writers go to pains to show that Dukat is mentally ill and suffering a psychotic break, yet at the very same time they want us to believe that this is the actually “true” Dukat we’re seeing and not simply his mental impairment speaking. They can’t have it both ways, though. If they’d wanted us to accept we were finally seeing the real Dukat, then they shouldn’t have spent the first three and a half acts building up his schizophrenia. Mental illness does not reveal the true person—it distorts it. Although I’m sure this wasn’t intended, I find the disconnect to be poor writing and actually quite offensive.

    There’s also the unfortunate fact that this episode basically saw Dukat transformed into what would become a weak, two-dimensional villain who would, by the end of the season, literally end up possessed by demons with glowing red eyes. I’m actually not as down on the whole Pah wraith storyline as many people are, because I kind of appreciate the mythological aspect of it, but what happened to Dukat from hereon was tremendously unfortunate. I almost wish they’d chosen to write him out of the series at this point, because his arc pretty much came to a natural conclusion at the end of “Sacrifice of Angels” with him having to withdraw from the station for a second time and having to pay the personal cost of his warmongering by losing the only person he ever cared about besides himself. Perhaps “Waltz” could have been his great swan-song, with him being killed during the final fight with Sisko.

    It’s hard to objectively appraise this episode when two-thirds of it are rather excellent, with great scripting and strong performances—including possibly Marc Alaimo’s finest work of the entire series. Alas, I can’t equate Dukat’s descent into deep psychosis as being “pure evil”, although I certainly think the man committed a lot of evil actions. The blatantly black-and-white closing scene still rankles and I can’t escape the conclusion the writers simply dropped the ball on both the episode and the character himself.

    Other downsides include the pointless scenes of the Defiant searching for Sisko. Here the crew are understandably keen to find their Captain, but they also step over a line: not only do they not seem to give a toss about the other survivors they are rescuing, but humanist Bashir is also willing to endanger tens of thousands of other lives to keep searching for one man, simply because it’s his Captain. I did, however, appreciate Worf’s calm, matter of fact retort when Bashir starts undermining his authority: “you may leave the Bridge, Doctor”. Other minuses: being stuck on the fire-lit cave set for most of the entire forty-five minutes makes for what is, quite frankly, one of the most visually drab and ugly episodes of the entire series. Rene Auberjonois’ directing also feels a little pedestrian and doesn’t do much elevate what are very static scenes. Yup, overall, I have terribly mixed feelings about this one. I mean, when it’s good, it’s brilliant. But it’s also muddled and problematic with a disappointing and rather offensive conclusion that does irreparable damage to what had been one of the show’s most compelling (if repellent) secondary characters. Depending on the way I look at it, I could probably rate this one anything between a 5 and 8, but, all things measured, I’ll settle for a weak Rating: 7
     
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  13. freethinker

    freethinker Lieutenant Commander Newbie

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    I guess the main problem I have with this episode is that we don't really know what Dukat is accused of. If it's things he's done during the occupation of Bajor then I think it's a little late. I mean they had plenty of occasions to arrest him and indict him between the end of said occupation and when he became the puppet head of a Dominion-controlled Cardassia. So why now? Now if it's things he did during the Dominion war then it's a bit strange since aside from being a condottiere in the pay of the Dominion he can't really be accused of much As Quark implied this occupation wasn't nearly as bad as the other ( No strip mining, no massive execution) So what is he accused of?

    Still, it's a mostly enjoyable episode and I like to watch it every now and then.

    Liked your review a lot BTW, but by now, it pretty much goes without saying.;)
     
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  14. Vash

    Vash Commander Red Shirt

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    Excellent analysis. It seems like “Waltz” is a prime example of why DS9 is labeled “dark.”
    I totally agree with the parallel of Dukat and Trump-! both blatantly delusional narcissists.
    Something bothered me about the episode as a whole that I couldn’t put my finger on, until your review articulated it…. conflating mental illness with evil. The writers said they wanted to make sure the audience didn’t perceive Dukat in too rosy a light, with his grief over Ziyal. Reading some of Marc Alaimo’s interviews, it seems like maybe he’s just being himself on screen.
     
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2021
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  15. Farscape One

    Farscape One Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Excellent review.

    I do, however, disagree with a couple things. First, I think he only partly loved Ziyal for reasons I've mentioned before. This would be a reason why she was not one of the mental images. I think it's not a coincidence that there are 3 people he sees: Kira, Damar, and Weyoun. Id, ego, superego. (I forget how each was defined, but I remember comparing them years ago.) At the end of the day, he only loves himself.

    Second, I actually find the entire episode compelling. All the way to the end. Dukat trying to justify his actions really shows just how far his worldview is from actual reality.

    Third, I think it makes sense Sisko engaged him in that discussion. He knows Dukat is unhinged, and he is fighting Dukat on his terms to break him a bit more so Sisko will get the upper hand and knock him out and get out of there, which he almost did. Sisko knew he was not fully healed, so he had to gain an advantage somehow. Notice Sisko started to get up exactly when he agreed to do the questionnaire. His body language shows he was getting ready to fight, and as soon as he got Dukat to turn around, he attacked.

    Fourth, as layered as Dukat has shown to be over the years, I still think he was truly evil. Look at all he did just to make HIS ego better. Look at the evil people we see in real life... a lot of them are megalomaniacs. This episode just stripped down all the final layers to reveal what was at the core.

    And I agree with how Worf was handled here. He was doing his duty exactly as he was supposed to.

    Personally, I give this one a 9.
     
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  16. fireproof78

    fireproof78 Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    fireproof78
    I agree. I never took away from the episode that mental illness=evil, especially not after the "Statistical Probabilities" episode. More than that, I never found Dukat as layered as insisted upon by the fandom. Is he a completely enjoyable character who is interesting and well acted? 100%! But, his presentation always struck me as a villain, someone who is interested in their own ends and those above all else.

    It's a reason why the Pah-Wraiths don't really bother me, despite very strange missteps along the way. Dukat was a main deprived of power, and never felt appreciated by the work he was trying to do on Bajor. So, in his own view, he would prove to the Bajorans that he knows what is best for them, by using the one thing against them he could never touch-their faith.

    Overall, I just don't see the disservice that is often claimed. But, that's me. I find more depth and meaning in characters that people swear to me are just one dimensional villains. :shrug:
     
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  17. Bad Thoughts

    Bad Thoughts Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Bad Thoughts
    Dukat's behavior is entirely consistent with his personality because it is a mental defense or side effect of his personality:
    https://www.researchgate.net/public...ind_beneath_the_mask_of_the_dark_triad_traits

    His evil is not an effect of a mental illness; his behavior is the manifestation of his personality as his self-concept--not to mention his freedom--is at stake.
     
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  18. freethinker

    freethinker Lieutenant Commander Newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2021
    Well, Kira would be the Id, Weyoun the superego and Damar of course the ego....
     
  19. ananta

    ananta Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2020
    It occurred to me that if Cardassia had an equivalent of Twitter, my God, Dukat would have been totally in his element as well :lol:

    Some good points, Farscape, although I definitely don’t think Sisko was on point here. He could see Dukat was suffering a psychotic episode, which is fairly dangerous territory as it is, and he seemed to deliberately antagonise and provoke him into the homicidal rage at the end of the episode. In doing so, he actually endangered Bajor, because at least before Dukat was still trying to masquerade as the “benevolent conqueror” rather than the vengeful scorned psychopath. As I said in my review of “Sacrifice of Angels”, Sisko was indirectly responsible for sending Dukat into his current trajectory and here he was pretty much directly responsible for unleashing a monster. Maybe you’re right and he knew a fight was inevitable, but I still don’t think he handled it well. A wise person would try to defuse a situation like this rather than agitate and escalate it.

    I agree, Dukat was always a sociopath at best, or or psychopath at worst. That’s his basic personality, alas, and there was no changing that, even when he was on his “charm offensives” in earlier seasons. I just wish the writers hadn’t muddied the waters by setting “Waltz” up as an episode about his insanity, then expecting us to take his psychotic rage as being the real person rather than a symptom of his psychosis. Maybe this is the “real” him, insofar as any of us actually have one distinct “self”, but I find it impossible to separate from the psychological illness. It also raises questions about the nature of evil and whether a person who is insane can be considered “evil” rather than mentally sick. I guess I don’t tend to think of people as “evil”, but I am likely to think of them as mentally ill or psychologically compromised. It could be argued that such people have a very limited scope for free will. If they had a different psychology, they would behave in different ways. Actions, however, can most certainly be evil.

    I think Kira would be the superego, as that is in line with the inner critic. I’m not so sure about Damar and Weyoun; possibly Damar would be the instinctual id, and Weyoun the ego. It’s a nice idea, but wasn’t quite developed enough. I found it interesting reading that earlier drafts of the story were to be set “inside” Dukat’s head, ala “Distant Voices” and “Things Past”. I’m glad they didn’t go with that idea.
     
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2021
  20. ananta

    ananta Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2020
    WHO MOURNS FOR MORN?”

    [​IMG]
    All that glitters is not gold pressed latinum...

    This is an episode that, for me, is neither good nor bad, but sits bang in the middle of the scale. Indeed, my feelings couldn’t be more neutral if I hopped onto a Romulan warbird and hitched a lift to the Neutral Zone.

    The basic idea is kind of fun; Morn’s untimely death leading Quark into an elaborate web of intrigue, lies, earlobe fondling, guns and money. Unfortunately, like Morn himself, it’s all a bit of a one-joke concept and the plot is so thin it feels stretched to breaking point. It’s the type of thing I imagine would have worked well had this been a half-hour sitcom, but, of course, we have to fill best part of an hour to fill and the stretch marks are all too visible. It’s not helped by the sheer predictability of the entire affair. I never really believed Morn was truly dead and it was fairly obvious all these “colourful” characters were simply swindling Quark in order to get to the latinum.

    It doesn’t help that the guest characters are decidedly unmemorable. Laurel is just another standard femme fatale, something we’ve already seen enough of lately, and we’re treated to far too many exhibitions of and references to ear masturbation, a.k.a. Oo-mox; a gag I really wish had been retired by this point. We also meet two mobster-types who are remarkably similar to the Orion Syndicate pair from the previous season’s “A Simple Investigation”. They are sporadically amusing, even if their laboriously slow delivery begins to grate and the pair are basically walking cliches. Finally, we encounter what appears to be Enina Tandro’s son from season one’s “Dax”, only it’s actually a guy posing as a Lurian security officer, who claims that Morn was actually a crown prince. As noted, the part is played by Gregory Itzin, who does a decent job, but there’s nothing much to the role. There are some amusing lines overall, and I enjoyed the final shootout when they eventually turn on each other in the cargo bay. But, really, they are fairly uninteresting bunch of characters who fail to leave any lasting impression.

    I guess that’s how I feel about the episode in general. It’s not unpleasant, and is, in fact, quite often amusing. It’s a slow burner and does have a low-key, offbeat charm. But it’s also exceptionally slight, the pace is lethargic and I found my attention wandering. For a comedic outing, it’s not particularly funny, although it does have a certain whimsy that will appeal to some. Highlights include the funeral scene where the crew pay their respects to the apparently deceased barfly, the high point being where Jadzia confesses that she had a crush on Morn which he didn’t reciprocate (to Worf’s displeasure, in a wonderful burst of inverse jealousy). There’s also a great closing scene where Morn returns from the dead and manages to reveal the whole story without uttering a word.

    Armin Shimmerman does a great job throughout and carries the entire episode with genuine gusto. With a less engaging actor in the lead role, I’m certain the episode would have truly sunk. That said, Quark’s sole motivation is lust for latinum, which has always been the least enjoyable aspect of the character. One of the episode’s biggest problems is also that, for such a savvy and scrupulous businessman, Quark comes across as uncharacteristically gullible, blindly accepting all the cock and bull stories he’s being fed by this assortment of shifty grifters. I found myself wishing this had been more of an ensemble piece, because the guest characters were too weak to sustain my interest for long. While it’s undoubtedly Quark’s greedy nature that drives the plot, I rather wish the writers had taken more of a “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World” approach and found some twist to involve the rest of the crew in a quest for Morn’s fortune. That could have been fun. As it is, “Who Mourns For Morn?” is just kind of there...both mildly enjoyable and a little frustrating, but nothing to write home about. Rating: 5
     
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