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- Fri, Jul 31, 2015, 4:01pm (USA Central)
This is an episode which examines the theme of luck, in that sometimes people have good luck and sometimes they have bad luck. It also examines the theme of rivalry, in that there are two sets of people -- Quark and Martus, Julian and Miles -- who are competing with each other, who are "rivals" if you will.
OK, that's it. I've got nothing more to say.
OK, OK, I'll try a bit more. The episode's depictions of the ups and downs of fortune makes it feel a bit like some kind of genie story, or some such, and the idea of a device that artificially makes one's luck good or bad has a certain appeal as a fantasy idea. The episode's attempt at a SF explanation is pretty painful, so I won't belabour that. The episode doesn't do much interesting with it, except that it does get something of the charge that the compulsive gambler feels. The real issue with those luck spheres for Martus, and for the previous owner, is that the initial run of good luck creates an artificial high which then makes the person restless and unhappy until they have that again, which is why it's often said that the worst possible thing that can happen to someone is to win big the first time they gamble, since it creates a thrill and a set of expectations that can't really be matched. Making unknown character Martus the person whose luck changes so radically was a weird choice; while, yes, it's nice to see Chris "Prince Humperdink" Sarandon in the role, there's no indication why we should care about this guy aside from the most general "all human[oid]s deserve our empathy" sense of it. The one advantage of making Martus the luck-holder is that it helps establish Quark as the real underdog hero of the episode; while Quark allows gambling at his place, and is a gambler of sorts himself, he judges each deal as it comes and uses his wits, cunning, and interpersonal skills to profit, while "listener" Martus, despite his rep as a con man, mostly ends up a passive individual, at the whim of The Fates splashing him to and fro. The passive man who bets on luck may briefly overtake the canny individual who focuses on skill, but fortunes change and eventually skill tends to win out. Comparing the way Quark makes the O'Brien/Bashir feud into a big source of profits, using the carrot of charity to lure the two in, makes Martus' "a random guy gave me a luck generator which I used to make more luck generators" approach seem even more pathetic.
The Bashir/O'Brien rivalry is pretty fun, actually, though it takes up less of the episode's runtime than I had remembered; I also think that their not resolving their rivalry in episode -- no tag, even! -- is a bit of a shame. It's a comedy plot, yes, but comedy plots still (mostly) work best as plots. Anyway, I find their scenes, along with the related ones (Julian's telling Dax that he's afraid Miles is going to have a heart attack, Miles' venting to Keiko) pretty enjoyable throughout. The personality clash/buddy cop formula is obvious but it does work here, and much better than in "The Storyteller," and I like that Julian is both much more enthusiastic about the friendship and also tries very hard to put an end to the matches while leaving Miles' dignity intact; Miles' desire to beat Julian and wipe that smug smile off his face as a way for Miles to (willingly!) choose to spend more time with the guy is a neat way to push their development without resetting Miles' fundamental attitude, nor putting them in a big life-death situation.
I get something of a kick out of the image of the ball bouncing around the room and O'Brien catching it. I don't quite know what it is, but I like it.
Comedy or no, I do think it's a bad sign when the "main plot" essentially gets resolved because, EVENTUALLY, the main cast notice something, then pick up their tricorder, and then shoot spheres with phasers, end of story, taking all of like one minute.
2-2.5 stars. Probably a high 2 -- enjoyable fluff in the B-plot, somewhat dull and very silly, but with some redeeming elements, A-plot.
- Fri, Jul 31, 2015, 3:41pm (USA Central)
Wow, what a mess. Setting aside the real-world analogues this episode is attempting to allegorize, the episode makes wrong turns in basically every scene. In attempting to represent the whole breadth of the refugee experience, from language barrier to being bullied to religious prophesy, the episode never stays on any topic long enough to come to any satisfying point, and further is ridiculous on basically every point. The Universal Translator material wastes time and is forgotten the moment it is no longer a problem, with the sole impact that we find out that the Skrreeans are matriarchal and only want to talk to Kira. The matriarchy stuff with the Skrreeans is at least *not* "Angel One," and for a culture to be matriarchal is not that big a departure from the Trek norm (given the number of patriarchal cultures we encounter), but it's not used to any effect except to present, and never dispel, the idea that the Skrreean men are a bunch of foolish, aggressive dolts who wander around getting into fights, which, ahem, undermines Haneek's arguments about how wonderful Skrreean society is. The friendship between Haneek and Kira, solidified over their shared dislike of a dress and unfunny laughter afterwards, comes across as affected and false (and why did Haneek stare at that dress so long? did she really spend all that time saying "LOOK AT THIS STUPID DRESS!"). The Nog/Skrreean boys plot is supposed to, I guess, demonstrate that conflicts arise due to the native people's non-acceptance of the refugees, but since the episode is all building toward the Bajorans turning the Skrreeans down, why even bother involving juvenile delinquent Nog, a Ferengi who just escaped being jailed because Sisko blackmailed his uncle, rather than showing some possible BAJORAN-SKREEAN culture clash? Haneek's son taking a ship to Bajor because he's an idiot and being shot down, because he's an idiot, is manipulative, artificial "tragedy" at its worst, especially since his motivation is so badly sketched in.
The real question of import here *should be* the question of how refugees should be housed, and what it means to deny refugees entry to an already battered land. The episode begins with Kira neglecting her duties by arguing all the time with the Provisional Government, followed by her strongarming Quark into taking a Bajoran musician, to reestablish her bona fides in terms of her desire to preserve and help the Bajoran people, so that when she ultimately does not extend this to the Skrreeans we understand that Kira's broad desire to help her struggling people ultimately ends and cannot extend to all oppressed peoples -- which is not, by the way, me criticizing Kira, just stating the sad fact that resources are finite and we have to choose, and people tend to choose their own family, tribe, people above another even if the other suffers just as much and is equally "deserving." And, fine, but the post-scarcity world means that there's no reason they can't just settle on Dralon II, instead of a planet in a system they stumbled upon like a week ago. With every indication that Dralon II is habitable and indeed is *better* for farming and building a life than the burned-to-the-ground peninsula they are eying on Bajor, there is no reason to see Haneek as being shut out; Bajor turning refugees away because they quite literally have a galaxy of other options which are brought straight to them leaves us with no reason to criticize Bajor, and makes Haneek et al. just seem ungrateful, especially when Haneek suggests that Kira is her friend only as long as Kira doesn't have to do anything for her, after Kira saved her and her family's life, spent hours working on communicating with them, bought her a present, and then let her and hundreds of her people use the station and its food resources for days (?) or weeks (?). Jeez.
The ONE argument Haneek has in her favour is "God said so," where she has some mythological reason to believe that the first planet they happen upon on the other side of the "eye" will be their new home. And, you know, it does make some sense that Bajorans in particular would be sympathetic to "BECAUSE THERE'S A VAGUE PROPHESY" as a justification. But there is not, to my recollection, a single scene of Kira or the Bajoran government actually responding to the religious reasons Haneek gives, and so this is not even discussed. First Haneek suggests that it will be good because that's where they're supposed to go, and then at the *very* end, right after her son stole a ship because Skrreean males are apparently lunatics, says that it's Kira/Bajor's fault for not recognizing that the Skrreeans can help cure Bajor of its ills, an argument which she had not explicitly pointed out previously in the episode (though, to be fair, it is in the myth and she did make a point of saying she didn't want Bajor's help). So, no. I don't think we are "forced" to side with Haneek, but Kira's inability to come up with a good riposte suggests we're supposed to feel that Haneek at least had a good point, which, you know, she didn't -- in that it's hardly the Bajorans' fault that neither Haneek nor any other Skrreean pointed out that they would very likely be able to help Bajor, and so could not give any counterargument.
And, you know, putting all that aside, why would all the Skrreeans need to settle on one place anyway? Could not someone have suggested maybe letting a few hundred or thousand Skrreeans settle on the northern peninsula of Bajor, so that if the drought continues and no food is grown it is *not* going to be an unmanageable amount of aid necessary to keep them alive, and, if no aid comes, it won't be a full species extinction? It seems likely Haneek would reject this suggestion out of hand, but there is no reason the Bajoran provisional government couldn't *suggest* it.
I find this episode pretty painful to get through -- and while there are bits of interesting content, they are very scattered about. 1.5 stars at the most, probably 1 star.
- Fri, Jul 31, 2015, 3:16pm (USA Central)
Rules of Acquisition
@Yanks, thanks for the kind words.
I was talking more about Pel's initially going to show up Zek to begin with -- ripping off the lobes and so forth. Reviewing the transcript, she explicitly says "I'm sorry, but it's time he learned that when it comes to accumulating profit, women are as capable as men." So her motivation is not officially love-based after all...and yet, her going to the Nagus only *after* Quark rejects her and asks her to leave the station does suggest that she's motivated partly by heartbreak, which she then turns into a desire to bring on massive social change. Which...I don't know. It's noble and I don't want to dismiss it entirely, but Pel has surely gone incognito for years and I'm not sure if the episode totally justifies her showing off her female-ness at *this* moment.
- Fri, Jul 31, 2015, 2:59pm (USA Central)
When I saw Tucker dead in the operating scene, I cringed thinking, "Not another reset button episode!"
When Phlox explained the cloning procedure I cringed again at the ridiculous science.
But despite that I got pulled into the episode and enjoyed it a lot.
I don't think Sim finally volunteering to give his life took away from the moral dilemma aspect, as Archer had already decided he was going to die. It did put a much happier spin on the ending, making Sim a hero rather than making Archer a possible villain.
What did sort of dilute the moral dilemma is that the entire population of Earth would likely perish if they did not sacrifice Sim's last few days or a small chance at a longer life.
If it had merely been Sim's life vs Trip's or Sim's life vs. Enterprise and the lives of its crew the decision might have gone the other way or been more difficult . But 5 days of life for one clone vs the survival of humanity made it much easier to rationalize.
- Fri, Jul 31, 2015, 1:39pm (USA Central)
Blaze of Glory
The writers seem to be completely oblivious to real life. Here we are presented with a situation where a renegade terrorist faction wants to commit mass murder against A CURRENT GENOCIDAL ENEMY, and the allies are upset that this may case the said genocidal enemy to become... genocidal. It makes absolutely no sense.
Let's take WWII (always a good example): Churchill gave the order to bomb German civilians by the thousands. Hitler was furious, so he intensified the bombing of English cities. This actually ended up being a good thing because the Nazis were having great success with their military targets. But Hitler could do nothing except carry on what he was doing anyway - conquering.
In the same way, that's all the Cardassian's and the Dominion could have done. This also brings up a further HUGE plot problem: The allies would be using any and all means to obliterate their enemies, and vice versa; yet, for the duration of this war, no weapons of mass destruction are ever deployed. Let's take DS9 - all you'd need to destroy that thing would be one major weapon. You wouldn't send a fleet.
But the writers suspend all logic and all reason simply to peddle this unrealistically written war.
The B story isn't any better as it concerns Nog trying to be a bad-ass.
- Fri, Jul 31, 2015, 1:24pm (USA Central)
Change of Heart
I have consistently disliked the Worf-Dax scenes - until now. It's so strange though, and makes me wonder if the writers actually did that controlling/abusive/disrespectful/sexist Worf on purpose. Given what was possible here, AND the fact that Worf clearly recognizes this as a drastically different (accepting, loving) way to be - I'm just baffled with why the writers wanted to depict their relationship in that stupid way all this time.
It's not just that Worf 'lightened up'. The first scene, I kind of expected Worf to be watching from afar. After all, he has shown himself to be Exactly the kind of husband who will be glowering and disapproving that his wife is out late at night having fun and doing 'independent' things. Instead, and very happily surprised I was, Worf was taking pride in her ability in the game. The absolute FIRST romantic thing that came out of his mouth that wasn't cliche, wasn't un-Klingon, wasn't completely stupid - was when he said he would back a losing Jadzia over a winning anyone else. THANK YOU. At least now it makes sense for someone to marry this guy.
Worf's character really showed in this episode that he IS capable of following her lead, respecting her decisions, adjusting around her as well, and recognizing that his universe isn't the only universe. Even the ending where he says he would want the same from her and she jokingly/half-jokingly implies she'd put her career first - his response is GOOD. He doesn't start frowning and questioning her love/loyalty even for a half-joke.
So this was great in terms of these two, and I am so happy to have this one episode of sanity for an otherwise almost disturbing relationship (and Worf characterization). IN fact, I think it WAS very deliberate because Worf mentions how he was on TNG, and that's also a hint that they really did change his character a lot on this one.
In terms of the plot and stuff - I totally agree that it was stupid to have NO major plot impact with all that, with absolutely NOTHING taken back from the mission. It seemed really thin that Worf wasn't immediately facing any consequences. That's kind of standard Trek stuff - a lot of major characters can do unacceptable things and get some kind of 'censure' which is so in the future that by the next episode it's vanished. That was pretty unbelievable, there should have been some consequence. Worf can easily use a few episodes of glory to reaffirm his case for why he should be a commander.
- Fri, Jul 31, 2015, 1:16pm (USA Central)
Rules of Engagement
I'll agree with you there Teejay.
...but he was a lawyer :-)
- Fri, Jul 31, 2015, 1:03pm (USA Central)
Wow, what interesting comments on this one. A break from the Xindi storyline is a huge problem here I guess... wonder what those same folks thought about all the diversions in seasons 6 & 7 of DS9?
Somehow the countless "holodeck" episodes throughout Trek are acceptable (with some pretty much universal duds for sure), but when Enterprise takes break and gives us a holodeck episode without the holodeck it's rubbish.
How dare an episode mention the word slavery without paying homage to the black slaves of America. ... as if slavery was an American "thing", as if blacks didn't sell their own into slavery, as if there weren't black slave owners, as if America was the last despite of slavery left on earth. Jesus... slavery was a human problem, not an exclusively American one. They probably left Travis out of most of this episode because they didn't want to have to relate slavery to just an American problem. Although I wouldn't have minded including him as long as the conversation/reference was done properly, not like was done in TNG: MOM. See 'The Savage Curtain' from TOS for an appropriate context.
These folks weren't plucked out of Boston or New York, they were plucked out of the Midwest somewhere... somewhere that didn't even have running water or plumbing or the steam engine or even electricity. Folks forget how big a societal gap there was between the cities and the mid-west during that time frame.
They were swooped up. I'm sure they didn't grab their history or science books or bring along Benjamin Franklin for the ride. It's really not too much of a stretch that they hadn't progressed technologically at all noting their lack of resources, initial enslavement and education level upon abduction - unless of course you're looking for a reason to dis Enterprise.
Archer did the right thing here. I'm not sure what else someone could have expected.
The episode was good fun, while illustrating the huge differences between folks of that time and now.
Seeing T'Pol get up on that horse was a riot. The shoot-out at the end was good fun too.
My only issue with this episode is the Skagarans and stranded humans were never addressed again in the series [I think]. (so I guess the Illyrians never had a chance :-) )
Good acting all around except the deputy was pretty hammy.
4.0 classic? No, but a solid 3.0 for sure.
- Fri, Jul 31, 2015, 10:05am (USA Central)
It is absurd to think that humans from the late 19th Century would still only have 19th Century technology, 300 years later. Also, it seems unlikely that a species so far advanced that they were capable of interstellar travel could be overcome and subjugated by 19th century humans.
- Fri, Jul 31, 2015, 9:51am (USA Central)
Fantastic episode in every way--a worthy successor to TNG's "Family."
- Fri, Jul 31, 2015, 6:44am (USA Central)
The Search, Part II
Erm. Does that mean Garak is Julian Bashir's idealized version of him? O.o? Their first conversation almost seems like it in retrospect.
- Fri, Jul 31, 2015, 3:24am (USA Central)
You Are Cordially Invited
Agree so much with Elliot's comments above. Also loved the point someone made about Odo's regeneration. It's also strange that the lady of Martok's house could come, but not Enterprise crew.
I'm watching this for the first time and while the earlier Dax was one of my favourite (if not THE favourite) character, I'm just waiting for the character to die and leave the show. This episode had so much potential (EVEN accepting the ridiculous couple these two make). Actually let me just point out that marriages like these are the ones that a lot of people in less democratic and egalitarian situations feel they 'have' to stick on with, and lead to endless unhappy days full of discontent and verbal violence. Le sigh.
Worf and Dax should have had an affair, to satisfy Dax's curiousity. That is ALL that could possibly exist between them. If Worf had been at his best, he would have been amused with Dax, but not interested at all. He and K'ehlar worked so well precisely because she stood up to him.
Sisko telling Dax that Worf was like a kid who had to be indulged, the wedding vows where she is the 'stronger heart and wiser' - thereby giving the male heart to be less wise, do what he likes, etc. All that is patriarchal rubbish, sadly.
But the episode DID have potential as scenes with Klingon women and secure Klingon men (like Martok) always do.
On a side note, all Worf has done so far is feel 'ashamed' of and 'look down' at who someone connected with him really is (Alexander and Dax). Surely, it's more 'honorable' to be true to who you are, even if the world disapproves? Now there were glimpses of that in the TNG Worf. Worf here is like the most annoying, conservative parent who cares WAY too much about every random bigoted stranger's opinion. Married life would have been hell for them both.
- Fri, Jul 31, 2015, 2:53am (USA Central)
Rules of Engagement
Yes, what you say is true, it just seems to be a very sneaky, non-Klingon way to handle the situation.
- Fri, Jul 31, 2015, 2:41am (USA Central)
Once More Unto the Breach
Yeah not crazy about the idea myself(although in the right hands it could've been done well), was just trying to think of something that could possibly pleased both sides of the aisle, so to speak :)
- Fri, Jul 31, 2015, 2:35am (USA Central)
A few things:
1) Has it actually been stated in the show that Odo is infected yet? If it has, I missed it.
2)Not sure if I buy the Changeling's ability to shape-shift into fire, mainly due to the nature of how fire exists.
3)I don't think I could've turned down Laas' offer if I were I Odo's shoes.
As for the episode: I could've done without the whole murder/escape parts(to me, they kinda felt like they were put in just to make the episode's running time), but otherwise enjoyable.
- Thu, Jul 30, 2015, 9:08pm (USA Central)
Sigh...all the creativity thwarted by the 42 minute / 26 episode format. I wish this show had been done outside of Hollywood, with a European approach of a short set of very strong hour plus episodes (like HBO is doing).
- Thu, Jul 30, 2015, 8:59pm (USA Central)
I am surprised how much so many people loved this "reset button" episode.
Someone made a good point that Archer could have recorded his new memories into a log instead of wasting T'Pol's time and depriving Starfleet of a valuable officer.
Even Dana Carvey figured out that trick in "Clean Slate".
- Thu, Jul 30, 2015, 8:03pm (USA Central)
What a phenomenally good double episode! It easily bests BOBW, and ranks as my favourite DS9 outing thus far in the series.
- Thu, Jul 30, 2015, 7:48pm (USA Central)
Well I guess they were sort of like the Nazis, without the racism, anti-Semitism, concentration camps, gas chambers, desire for global domination etc, etc.
Come on, they weren't anything like Nazis. They were generally good, very courageous young people fighting for a noble cause under extremely difficult circumstances.
Their fatal flaws were that they became arrogant and overestimated their own abilities and that they allowed their undestandable admiration of Watters to cloud their judgement and lead them to follow him blindly.
- Thu, Jul 30, 2015, 5:41pm (USA Central)
Also, they have a freaking exobiologist on board. Poor Samantha Wildman.
- Thu, Jul 30, 2015, 5:38pm (USA Central)
I have to agree with Robert. We are uncovering information now that indicates solitary confinement might be akin to torture. At the very least, many people currently consider it inhumane. I have a very hard time believing that Janeway would consider it an appropriate punishment for a member of her crew.
They have encountered many cultures with innovative means of punishment. Why would they ever use one which is of questionable ethics?
- Thu, Jul 30, 2015, 3:10pm (USA Central)
I found this episode very well played. I think 'Red Squad' is supposed to be akin to naziism. Think about the big picture. All the cadets thinks Red Squad is superior to everyone else. They even have certain rules. 'Don't talk about emotional things...blah blah' They have a symbol, the Red Squad badge. And I really started feeling the nazi vibe when everyone started chanting 'RED SQUAD! RED SQUAD!' Everyone took orders from the cadet captain blindly. Even to their death. I like this episode's metaphors.
- Thu, Jul 30, 2015, 3:10pm (USA Central)
Lonely Among Us
I did like the dog and snake aliens in this one. Really some of the best aliens in the entire series where "alien" usually just meant spots, bumps, or just plain ordinary human. The "dog" alien is also reused in the episode "Tapestry" in the bar scene.
- Thu, Jul 30, 2015, 2:55pm (USA Central)
Sometimes I wish I had an Uncle Vic...
- Thu, Jul 30, 2015, 2:41pm (USA Central)
This was a pretty lame episode. I did however appreciate the exchange at the very beginning between Riker and Data when Riker notices that Data didn't relay the time in milliseconds. This is great continuity from two episodes ago when Riker was questioning his reality by challenging Data's processing speed. Riker questioning Data in this episode shows how deeply Riker was effected by his experience and perhaps now he will always be looking out for indications that he is not part of normal reality. Also Data's reason for not supplying the information showed good character development. Thank you Michael Piller!
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