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fhatthewuck - Fri, Oct 9, 2015, 4:51pm (USA Central)
Re: VOY S2: Prototype

"Trekkian take on the Prime Directive"
Hurr yase, that was a very Star Warsian take on the Force
Proper from Gunnerkrigg - Fri, Oct 9, 2015, 4:43pm (USA Central)
Re: TNG S3: The Survivors

I'm a jerk but frankly I like what Kevin did to Troi. About time someone pushed the pushy snoop back a bit.
Easter - Fri, Oct 9, 2015, 1:30pm (USA Central)
Re: DS9 S3: Shakaar

@William B

I think one of this episodes big failings is that it assumes we know a lot (as it was at this point in the series) and therefore feels it can leave a lot unsaid and just assume we'll fill in the blanks with stuff that honestly shouldn't be left to that. Like, the show never really says or even properly implies that Winn used underhanded dealings to get the First Minister position and be in a situation where nobody is running against her, but since every time we've seen her thus far she's been using underhanded tactics to get power we're supposed to assume that this was no different and just treat her ascension to first minister as the result of illegal maneuvering and duplicity and her lack of competition is from the same kind of stuff she pulled to get Bareil out of the runnig for Kai. We never see her actively lie to the people of Bajor but again based on who she is I think we're supposed to just infer that she didn't tell them the whole story which is something Shakkar can leverage and most importantly, we never actually see or learn the specifics of the contract Shakaar has with the government, we never know if it says "You have use of this equipment for X time" or if it says "you have provisional use of this equipment for X time unless we ask for it back" but since Kira believes Shakaar is justified we're supposed to assume it's in his favour since we're on her side rather than Winn's and Winn is OBVIOUSLY acting inappropriately, because that's what she does. We also never see Shakaar act reluctant about being first minister but since he was, up to this point, a farmer with no interest in politics and we have a definite Li Nalaas parallel I think we're supposed to assume he's doing it for the good of Bajor even though all he really wants to do is farm some space-rutabaga or whatever.

These are all really important plot/character points that the show just kinda assumes we'll infer from past behaviour and how the character's we're supposed to like act. Which is a major failing of the episode and how those blanks get instinctively filled or not filled by our respective brains probably plays a huge part in how we initially react to the episode.

I actually just went back and read the script and I was misremembering the scene in the valley. I thought shakaar initially gave up. Having reread it I take it more as him accepting that this situation is out of control. Even if he gets arrested and the Kai "Win"s, even if his entire cell gets taken down, it won't stop the civil war from coming. The fuse is too close to lit. Once one side fires at the other it's over. The government will have their justification and/or the resistance will have their martyr. The only way to end this is to find a way to have both sides "Win" which is by making Shakaar, the face of the resistance, and Winn, the face of those opposing them, publicly making good together and getting on equal footing. The solution then is to make Shakaar the First Minister and official head of Bajor and leave Winn the Kai and spiritual head of Bajor so that the people can feel like this has been resolved to everyone's satisfaction.

I get the feeling this episode was planned as a two parter and then when it didn't get it had to try to cut details everywhere it could and hope we would fill in the blanks. So yeah, as much as it's visceraly enjoyable for me to watch I'm gonna have to agree that this was a pretty poorly written episode which requires almost fanfic levels of headcannon from implied scenes to work.
Easter - Fri, Oct 9, 2015, 1:07pm (USA Central)
Re: DS9 S3: Facets


I think they made a point that it isn't a proper override and can be fought against by the host so you couldn't use it to possess enemy soldiers and convert them. Also, yes, you could split a trill with dozens of soldiers' memories among a dozen newly enlisted privates. But the main host now lacks the combined force of all that experience so you're trading one supersoldier for a dozen normal ones and if any of those privates dies in battle you lose the memory with them so you're giving up 80 or so years of experience each time making it of limited tactical value AND requiring one Symbiont to have been a soldier for centuries to use even once.

The idea in your second post is an awesome one that I wish they'd explored. I really wanted to get to know the other Dax's better and that would have been a great way to let us do that and make the Dax character more than just a relatively normal person with a disproportionately long backstory.
DLPB - Fri, Oct 9, 2015, 10:00am (USA Central)
Re: VOY S5: In the Flesh

All fiction requires suspension of disbelief to some degree or other. A good fiction won't challenge it much, if at all. This episode was so preposterous to me that I was being reminded at every turn that fallible writers were at the helm. That's not a good thing for any fiction. Species 8472 was supposed to be a race unlike any we had every seen before. But then they get them creating a Starfleet Academy in the middle of nowhere and morph into humans. It takes an INCREDIBLE leap of faith to take that seriously.

I think it's a missed opportunity because 8472 (despite the shoe-horned excuse to be as bad-ass as the Borg) had potential to have a good arc.
Robert - Fri, Oct 9, 2015, 6:25am (USA Central)
Re: DS9 S5: For the Uniform

"It's also doubtful that the Maquis could have mounted any kind of meaningful evacuation in just one hour."

That doubt is your problem. The episode said they evacuated so it's true and Sisko is not a mass murderer.

That said your final comment is problematic. Sort of makes you wonder why the Dominion doesn't just do this to Earth...
Robert - Fri, Oct 9, 2015, 6:20am (USA Central)
Re: VOY S5: In the Flesh

I will say in DLPB's defense that while that is an impressive effort, the vast majority of reviewers for TV, movies, books, etc. are not writers... and we as a society are ok with that.

If the only people that liked your episode are other screen writers you are going off the air. I thought the episode had charm and some good acting... but let's be honest here and also say it also had a major retcon, some serious fun with DNA and required suspension of disbelief in the premise.

I didn't hate it, but the haters have a point. Seriously.
Robert - Fri, Oct 9, 2015, 6:12am (USA Central)
Re: VOY S5: In the Flesh

Dany - Fri, Oct 9, 2015, 5:33am (USA Central)
Re: DS9 S5: For the Uniform

Horrible episode! The overacting on Brooks' part is getting ridiculous. And Sisko has to be classified as a fanatic. He's always been religious about Star Fleet, the oath, the uniform. Not only do I find it implausible that Sisko wouldn't get reprimanded for using WMDs, I find it implausible that NO-ONE aboard the Defiant objects to their use. Worf, first and foremost, should have refused to comply. Dax too. She was totally out of character, esp. at the end. It's also doubtful that the Maquis could have mounted any kind of meaningful evacuation in just one hour. And the WMDs themselves are ridiculous. Attaching a container with trilithium to a photon torpedo is all it takes to kill off all humans on a planet. And apparently that's common knowledge. Sure...
Nathan B. - Fri, Oct 9, 2015, 12:07am (USA Central)
Re: DS9 S6: Profit and Lace

Wow, the hate for this one is really strong...and, in my opinion, *not all* undeserved. I found most parts of the episode hilarious, and I enjoyed it very much. I agree with the point, too: that men would greatly benefit and grow as people if they empathized with women. "Profit and Lace" was a solid comedy in the tradition of Menander and Shakespeare.

Like the (barely extant) plays of Menander, though, there is a massive blindspot, and that is the willingness to overlook sexual harrassment/assault. The opening scene with Quark was very painful to watch. I kept thinking, "have the writers learned nothing from their last outing all the way back in Season One?" And I hoped that by the end of the episode, we'd see that they had--only to watch them undermine it all by having the dabo girl want to perform Oomox for Quark.

There are plays in both Euripides and Shakespeare that appear to confirm the prejudices of their audiences while actually undermining them. Menander could get away with this in the fourth century BCE. Shakespeare could get away with this in the 16th century CE. But the writers of Deep Space 9 in the twentieth century should have known better. The problem is that instead of presenting something with traditional Ferengi chauvinistic values and undermining them, the episode appears to undermine the new Ferengi value of equality.

I think that the writers would counter that they were trying to say that an empathetic male is one who is also truly happier. Consent is not only required for sex to be non-criminal, it's also sexy. That's why Quark gets his "happy ending." And in a way, it also mirrors the last episode, "Valiant." In that episode, the only member of the regular Red Squad cadets who had the wisest attitude--a yearning for home--survived. Put militarism before your humanity, the writers are saying, and you've given up what makes you actually alive. It's not subtle, but the point is a good one.

As for the episode itself, Quark would have been out of character to refuse Oomox once offered freely--but there's no way his employee would have freely offered that after being harassed. The closing scene as written should have never made it onto the printed page, let alone the screen.
Nissa - Thu, Oct 8, 2015, 11:05pm (USA Central)
Re: DS9 S4: The Sword of Kahless

I'll join the haters. Worf was at his worst here. Plus, it was all dreary. If you'll notice, DS9 tends to do better with races that aren't the traditional pillars of Trek. Their Klingons are especially weak and cliche-ridden. This is just more of the same silliness, and I couldn't get through the episode.
DLPB - Thu, Oct 8, 2015, 10:57pm (USA Central)
Re: VOY S5: In the Flesh

I am not being paid thousands, Shannon. If it were my job to script-write, I would do a much better job than this. However, I have relocalized Final Fantasy VII, which has been downloaded by thousands of people (well over 10,000):


I would like to note it did not take 5 years :P It was more like 6 months with huge gaps in between. FF7 has over 150,000 words.
DLPB - Thu, Oct 8, 2015, 10:43pm (USA Central)
Re: VOY S7: Repentance

I think the point of this story is that the death penalty removes permanently any potential for rehabilitation.

But interestingly the angle of never re-offending never comes up ;)
DLPB - Thu, Oct 8, 2015, 9:59pm (USA Central)
Re: DS9 S2: Paradise

I'd have liked to see how Bones handled her. I can imagine is anger.
Grumpy - Thu, Oct 8, 2015, 8:14pm (USA Central)
Re: DS9 S3: Facets

To be fair, we do get some glimpses into broader Trill culture. For one, we hear some untranslated language (the UT must've been fritzing that day), though it sounds like standard Space Hebrew. Second, Kira-Dax mentions being the first female something-or-other, indicating that Trill were previously male chauvinists... just like humanity. How boring.

Too bad the Chronicles of Dax never had enough time to breathe. The concept could've been spread over multiple episodes, the prior hosts handled like visiting relatives. Or this: some psychic mishap causes Dax to go schizoid, manifesting one host's personality at a time. Like, permanently. Assuming her condition didn't jeopardize her job (read: role in the cast), that would've made the character actually, y'know, interesting.
bc53 - Thu, Oct 8, 2015, 6:39pm (USA Central)
Re: DS9 S5: The Darkness and the Light

Doesn't work for me at all. Starting with the explosion. Kira just casually assaults and knocks out three security officers and has to be stopped by a placenta-rupture (or whatever) from venting a whole section, killing at least the baby, herself and three unconscious security officers.

Then she steals a runabout, deletes all traces of where she may be going to face her nemesis alone. This guy so far has managed to take out 6 people in such a meticulous, organized, fore-seeing fashion that those who are left of the Tal Shiar and the Obsidian Order would instantly dissolve their agencies out of feelings of inadequacy.
And Kira just beams down to his compound unprepared, with only a phaser - because that's a good idea.

If the writers wanted me to hate Kira with a fiery passion: well done!
We've had out share of stupidly acting cast members this season, but she takes the idiot cake!
Diamond Dave - Thu, Oct 8, 2015, 4:35pm (USA Central)
Re: TNG S6: Suspicions

Just what the world needed - a murder mystery solved by Beverly Crusher, Sherlock Holmes style. At least it's not on the holodeck...

This is dull, flat, and lifeless. It's not clear why Crusher cares enough to get involved in the first place, and the rest of the crew don't seem too involved either. The flashback style sucks all the drive out of the early part of the story, so it's difficult to care too much by the time we get to the end.

In retrospect, it's also a sad way for Guinan to bow out. So many potential stories not played out.

On the positive side, we do at least have an attempt to redeem the Ferengi and at a bit more to the capering simpletons we have oft seen in the past. Perhaps DS9 helped in giving a more rounded portrayal. And the bit where Jo'Bril gets a hole blown through him was pretty cool. 2 stars.
Diamond Dave - Thu, Oct 8, 2015, 3:27pm (USA Central)
Re: TNG S6: Frame of Mind

A polarising episode it seems. Colour me among those who were not keen. Conceptually, it's another one that asks 'what is real'. Unfortunately, we're led around the post so many times the episode loses its grounding.

I thought Frakes' performance was always verging on the affected rather than the brilliant, and for me failed to carry the episode in the way that Patrick Stewart carried The Inner Light, say. 2 stars.
Robert - Thu, Oct 8, 2015, 2:42pm (USA Central)
Re: DS9 S6: His Way

I actually love all 3 of these episodes ("Pale Moonlight", "His Way", "The Reckoning") for showing off the range of DS9. "The Inquisition" is pretty great too.

While Pale Moonlight is technically "better", this show is always special to me. And you can give it 4 stars if you love it. It doesn't have to be "Pale Moonlight" to be perfect in it's own way.
Diamond Dave - Thu, Oct 8, 2015, 2:09pm (USA Central)
Re: TNG S6: The Chase

OK, so the Indiana Jones-esque elements to this story are fun. Picard's enthusiasm for archaeology, his relationship with Galen, and the chase elements add up to a good scene setter.

But it doesn't help that the implications are massive, virtually dwarfing anything that's come before. All of these races share a common heritage! Big stuff... except it's presented in a sub-Sesame Street 'cooperation is good' manner, and cribs The Inner Light for its 'remember us' conclusion, with none of the subtlety and conviction of that episode.

"That's all?" indeed. 2.5 stars.
Nathan B. - Thu, Oct 8, 2015, 1:30pm (USA Central)
Re: DS9 S6: His Way

Four stars! Or at least, three-and-a-half. I *LOVED* this episode, perhaps because Odo reminds me of myself in some ways. By the end of the episode, I wished very much that Vic were real and my friend. I'm glad to hear he'll be back..

"His Way" is not "In the Pale Moonlight." It's not a serious and deep examination of the darker side of human nature. It's not a reflection on the finer points of ethics and morality. It's a nice bit of touching fun, and accomplishes all that that sort of episode is designed to do. And after ITPM, the timing was perfect, even as "Family" followed "BOBWII." And it's certainly one of the most memorable episodes I've seen in these six seasons. Overall, I'm left very impressed by the versatility of DS9, easily the best of all the Star Trek sub-franchises.
Luke - Thu, Oct 8, 2015, 9:04am (USA Central)
Re: TNG S7: Liaisons

I wouldn't go that far, but it was definitely a step up. :)
Robert - Thu, Oct 8, 2015, 8:03am (USA Central)
Re: TNG S7: Liaisons

On the bright side this must have felt practically Shakespearian after ST5...
Luke - Thu, Oct 8, 2015, 7:47am (USA Central)
Re: TNG S7: Liaisons

Want to know a depressing little secret? "Liaisons" was the very first episode of Trek, any Trek, that I ever saw. Want to know an even more depressing little secret? My actual introduction to Trek wasn't even with an episode; it was with a movie. And that movie was "Star Trek V: The Final Frontier".

And yet, I wasn't scared away and still managed to become a die-hard Trek fan. For all you atheists out there - if that isn't proof that God exists and that miracles do happen, I don't know what is. :P

However, despite the fact that "Liaisons" should probably hold something of a nostalgic place in my heart, it doesn't - because this episode is BORING! Aside from a few humorous moments from the Worf and the asshole ambassador plot, what is there, really, to say? The Troi plot is just absurd - her ambassador wants to experience the concept of pleasure and all he can think to do is eat desserts? Um, you know there are other forms of pleasure, right writers? And yes, I'm talking about sex (I'm perfectly happy to have my mind in the gutter, thank you very much! :P). The Picard plot is about as dull as you can get, most likely due to the fact that the actress playing Anna is about as convincing as.... well, I don't even know how to describe it. And yet, I can't even blame her. She's playing a character that has no idea what love is and yet is attempting to get someone to fall in love with her. How exactly was she supposed to play that? I blame the rather odd idea, or perhaps the writing, instead of her. If you want to see something like this done properly, just watch "Misery."

I do want to point out that this is the first, and probably only, time that Trek has attempted to portray female on male rape seriously. And that is exactly what the scene is when Anna throws Picard to the ground and attempts to force herself on him. Usually Trek, for whatever deluded reason, likes to play that concept for laughs (as in "First Contact" and later in ENT: "Unexpected"). Given that it happens in real life a whole lot more than most people are even willing to admit, it's nice to see them at least trying to treat it like the serious issue it is. However, like Jammer, I found the scene unintentional funny because Barbara Williams played the part so damn kooky and unconvincingly. But, again, that's not her fault. How else could you portray a possible rape scene when the script demands that you say asinine things like "You should love me now" or "I know more about you" and "Love me!"?

If it wasn't for those few glimpses of humor in the Worf plot (Data telling Worf that he's "demanding, temperamental and rude" and "You see? You see? They are insane!") I would give this one a below average rating.

William B - Thu, Oct 8, 2015, 12:23am (USA Central)
Re: DS9 S3: Third Season Recap

The Search followed up on The Jem'Hadar with a suggestion of a major series reshuffling, and then promptly went way overboard and then reversed course dramatically in part 2, and I think that strikes me as an apt summary of this season (and, well, much of the Dominion arc, but...). The season begins with the looming threat of the Dominion being treated as a significant game-changer; the opening two-parter, yes, and then The House of Quark implying that the station is being partially abandoned as a result of the new threat, and indeed is even the direct initiator of that episode's two main plotlines (the low business because of the Dominion is what makes Quark drum up business by pretending he had a heroic fight with the Klingon, and the low population is why Keiko closes the school). Then very quickly come Equilibrium, where Sisko takes the warship to Trill, and Meridian where we learn that planet-of-the-week exploration has been resumed in a commander's log. The rest of the season largely maintains this somewhat incoherent attitude, where the threat of the Dominion is so dire that the Ultimate Warship! is posted to the station, but the ranking officers on the station can spend days or weeks at a time doing proof-of-concept solar sailing ships or getting started in a ground war over farm equipment, or decide to take a sixty year leave of absence to go be with this guy they just met. Much of the issue here is that DS9 (like TNG, really) is a standalone/serialized hybrid, and it becomes one or the other depending on the interests of the week. I am sort of okay with this, except that it becomes harder to sell the EXISTENTIAL THREAT OF THE DOMINION when they are so out of sight most of the time. To be sure, people during tense times focus on things other than looming threats, but there is something about the transition from "The Die is Cast" to "Explorers" that goes beyond "time to relax" and into territory where it seems like Sisko doesn't even have a real job. (...Actually, maybe both episodes could have been improved if Admiral Whatley had relieved Sisko of duty for a few weeks or something for defying orders, and Sisko took up the solar sails hobby as a good project for the interim. Maybe not, on the other hand.)

Onto the characters:

Sisko: The most Sisko-centric episodes this year were arguably "Past Tense," "Destiny," "Through the Looking Glass," and "Explorers"; of these, "Destiny" worked for me despite some longstanding issues, but "Past Tense" and "Explorers" left me pretty on the fence and "Through the Looking Glass" actively bothered me in terms of Sisko's characterization. "Past Tense" and "Through the Looking Glass" both featured Sisko taking on another man's identity and living through his actions, but the motivation which was present in "Past Tense" was much shakier in "TTLG." What these episodes, and "Destiny" too (and in some respects even "Explorers," where Sisko's desire is to recreate an ancient Bajoran navigation and he ends up succeeding), suggest though is an overarching question of how much Sisko controls his own fate and how much he acts out a role which is already laid out for him. This is actually pretty interesting material, potentially, but I think only "Destiny" really starts to dig into what it might actually be like to be living out a role someone else set out for you and what psychological effects that has -- as well as seeing Sisko actually rebel against it. There is a potentially interesting story, and one that the season keeps gesturing to, but I don't really feel it's being explored. Sisko's continuing blackmailing people to work for him is another thing that I wish the show would deal with more explicitly (i.e. by having some negative consequences for Sisko eventually, at least in terms of the trust people have for him), and similar his defiance of orders in "The Die is Cast" or whatever. What did largely work for me this year is Sisko as friend, and Sisko as interpersonal manager; Sisko's efforts for Dax in "Equilibrium" and his advice to her in "Facets," his weighing his personal experiences with Nog against his potential in "Heart of Stone," and his ability to relate to Dukat and to make appropriate deals with him for the Defiant hijackers' lives in "Defiant" were all effective scenes, the Nog and Dukat stories in particular having Sisko make an effort to integrate new information about people he had already somewhat made his mind about (to different degrees) and thus allowing him to make several lives better. Sisko's scenes with Jake have been reasonable most of the time; the Kasidy relationship which Jake set up is just starting up, so time will tell. Rating: **1/2

Odo: Easily the best-handled of the regular cast, Odo is the only character for whom this season has a fairly consistent focus. Essentially, the whole season plays out as consequences to Odo's being forced to choose between his people and his Deep Space 9 life, with Kira as the primary reason why he chooses the latter, with layers of false explanations gradually unraveled. Lwaxana, the Female Shapeshifter, and Garak all break through Odo's defenses (through close observation, trickery or torture) to get at the real conflict, which Odo tries to hide but keeps coming out. And the season ends with Odo's choice of aligning against "his people" leading to him committing the gravest sin his people have, in the line of doing what more or less constitutes the bare minimum expected of him as a member of the DS9/Defiant crew. The downside is that Odo's feelings for Kira were hammered in too obviously at several points, and the "unrequited" bit is already wearing thin, but this is a relatively small problem. The key eps were "The Search" (pretty good on the Odo side), "The Abandoned" (not great, but with good Odo material), "Heart of Stone" and the "Improbable Cause"/"The Die is Cast" two-parter, the last of which also showcases his keen investigative instincts and is the season's highlight. Rating: ***1/2

Bashir: Bashir continues to gain definition, becoming less of the cipher he was in season one, and the performance and the episode to episode writing seems more confident. His relationship with Garak did not have a key defining episode like "The Wire" this year, but has been a pleasure nonetheless, and effort building on his friendship with O'Brien has worked well. The main problem is that there are no particularly strong Bashir vehicles; the one dedicated Bashir episode, "Distant Voices," was very weak, and other episodes which gave him a big part of the A-plot, like "Past Tense" or "Life Support," generally used him as the humanist mouthpiece in reasonable but not particularly individualized ways. Rating: **1/2

Jadzia: Of the three Dax episodes this season, "Equilibrium" sidelined Jadzia fairly early on to focus on Sisko and Bashir's investigations, "Facets" had Jadzia as something of a blank slate reacting to her previous hosts (especially Joran and Curzon), and "Meridian" ran counter to her general character portrayal and is in the running for the least convincing romance in Trek history, with some pretty stiff competition. Otherwise, Jadzia's role in episode plotlines often came down to "Dax gets her hands burned" (Civil Defense)-level activities. Really not a good year for her. However, some credit for giving us an opportunity to (sort of) meet Curzon at long last in "Facets," and for the intriguing concept (if not necessarily follow-up) of the killer-in-one's-attic idea of Joran. Maybe I should offer separate ratings for Jadzia and Dax, with Dax higher. Rating: *1/2

Jake: Jake was in this season. "Explorers" was the only episode which gave Jake a significant role in the A-plot, and it had its moments, though its explanation for why Jake stays on the station left something to be desired; generally, Jake has just had very little to do. The "Jake dates Marta, then she breaks up with him, then he is affected by a love spell" plotline was not exactly one of the show's stronger arcs. Rating: ** maybe, but really it might as well be N/A.

O'Brien: The only real O'Brien story this year was "Visionary," which was a good episode that is an engaging use of the character. His continuing friendship with Bashir was good, and the handling of Keiko's departure in "The House of Quark" was very sweet (though "Fascination's" follow-up less so). Not all that much material but what there was was pretty good. Rating: ***

Quark: I enjoyed "The House of Quark," and there are some other good moments for him this season -- his role in "The Search" was pretty effective, for instance. But "Prophet Motive" was nearly content-free, and "Family Business" in spite of some good elements was mostly actively harmful to the character. It is a shame, because Shimerman is one of the strongest in the cast, which largely keeps the character worthwhile despite having less and less good material. Rating: **1/2

Kira: Kira has much more focus and stronger material than most of the cast, but the shape of the Kira material this year (especially with "Shakaar") is pretty messy. The key Kira episodes this year are "Second Skin," "Defiant," "Destiny," and "Shakaar," and of those four I like *three*, which is a pretty good ratio. Still, "Second Skin" does not do as much as it could have, "Defiant" throws some weird curveballs into Kira/Bareil right when his death is gearing up, and "Destiny" somewhat retcons Kira's attitude to Sisko. Meanwhile, "Life Support," an episode which should really have had Kira at the centre for its major events (Bareil's death, the Bajoran/Cardassian peace treaty) sidelines her for most of its running time. The season then tries to make up for it by bringing her issues with the Cardassian treaty into "Destiny" and with Bareil's death into "Shakaar," but they both feel incomplete, and "Shakaar" in particular at times seems to give the werid impression at times like Kira was willing to start a civil war because Winn pissed her off, and that even her grief for Bareil was only about that, as well as running contrary to what "Defiant" *seemed* to be saying about her. The Odo crushing on Kira plot reduces Kira largely to object. Rating: **1/2 (it would probably be 3 if the handling of her reaction to Bareil's death were better).

Supporting cast:

Garak: The key here is the "Improbable Cause"/"The Die is Cast" two-parter, which is the obvious season highlight. This pays off much of what "The Wire" said about Garak in a different setting, giving Garak the opportunity to return to his people in a way that not only furthers his character but also shines a light on Odo's journey. "Civil Defense," "Second Skin" and the actual-Garak scenes in "Distant Voices" are fun but somewhat running in place for the character. I do think mirror-Garak is a tiny bit of a waste of Robinson's talent and presence, since it's a bit of a standard thug. Also having Garak do a brave sacrificial death in "The Search Part II" as part of the illusion was pretty weird. Still: ***1/2.

Dukat: His scenes with Sisko and the Obsidian Order operative in "Defiant" were great, and I love most of his scenes in "Civil Defense," especially those videos. "BAJORAN WORKERS!" "Explorers" was fluff and it was odd to have Dukat dropped into that story, given the startling defeat Cardassia just had and the probable implications those would have for Dukat. Rating: ***

Rom: The movement to full idiot savant mode is pretty much complete, but Rom has still largely not been placed at the centre of stories (the way he will be in "Bar Association" next year, say) so we will have to wait and see on that. He is getting pretty annoying, but I do think he managed to be the least annoying of the three Ferengi leads in "Family Business," at least. I do actually find his support for Nog quite touching. Definitely, he has changed somewhat radically since the halcyon days of season one, where he objected to Nog's schooling to keep up his image as a good Ferengi (in "The Nagus"), and I do not really think those changes seem wholly organic; Rom, up to "Rules of Acquisition," was put-upon by Quark and took this out on other people (his son, Pel), and I don't think that there was any major event which convincingly realigned him to have the strength of character not to pay forward his misery. I do think it's something of a reworking of the character, whereas I would have preferred a development. Rating: **1/2

Nog: As I said in the eps themselves, I do think that having the "Nog is sexist" ep right before "Nog wants to be in Starfleet" was odd placement, but overall the Starfleet development makes sense of some of what we have seen in s1-2 and is a nice direction for the character. Rating: ***

Bareil: My girlfriend keeps quoting that line Bashir had in "Life Support": "Nerys, if I remove the rest of his brain and replace it with a machine, he may look like Bareil, he may even *talk* like Bareil...." He would indeed have talked like Bareil. I think I should moderate my criticism of the character by saying that having a voice for Bajoran peace and serenity as a way of coping with hard times was a good idea, and I think that the concept of Kira finding an honourable ascetic as someone to are about and to share her passion for Bajor with was a good one. There are old Ronald D. Moore chats that one can find in archives, where people would continuously write in and talk about how awesome Bareil was and how upset they were that he was killed off, and while I cannot say I agree with them I can at least agree that it was good to have another positive voice out of Bajor. There is a certain quiet dignity in Bareil's martyr-y death, which I did not really talk about much in my negative take on "Life Support." And I will try not to hold "Fascination" against him. Rating: **

Winn: I feel like she has been somewhat retooled from calculating fundamentalist to incompetent politico; the intelligence with which Winn carried herself (and deployed her attacks) was much missed, by me anyway, in her two episodes this year. In a way, it may be that this was the point; Winn is undermined and we see that actually she was not an evil genius but a mostly-bad fool, who knows how to play the Vedek Assembly but is totally out to sea in other departments, and that probably makes sense. "Life Support's" attempt to put her in a somewhat neutral role rather than a villainous one (she is the heavy to some extent, but her desire for a peace treaty seemed genuine) was a good move, though "Shakaar" bought that back. Fletcher does what she can with the material, though. My favourite Winn moment (a love-to-hate moment) was the way she smugly told Kira that Bareil didn't want credit for his actions, and that she thought that Kira would know that.

Various: Zek's and Lwaxana's reappearances this year were not so thrilling; Tain's, though, was quite welcome. This season introduced several new recurring players, including Eddington, the Female Shapeshifter, Leeta, Ishka, Kasidy and Shakaar. I think Salome Jens is very good in the FS role, though she hasn't had that much to do yet. As for the others, well, they also haven't had much to do yet.
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