Jammer's Review

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

"The Dogs of War"

***

Air date: 5/24/1999
Teleplay by Ronald D. Moore & Rene Echevarria
Story by Peter Allan Fields
Directed by Avery Brooks

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

"Interesting, isn't it? The Federation claims to abhor Section 31's tactics, but when they need the dirtywork done, they look the other way. It's a tidy little arrangement, wouldn't you say?" — Odo to Sisko

Nutshell: Uneven, but it does well for setting us up for the grand finish while bringing closure to Quark's character arc.

There's a moment in "The Dogs of War" when Quark has had enough. He has watched as Ferengi society around him has become, in his view, a travesty. And he realizes he hasn't been immune from the changes over the years; he sees that he has gone "soft." He launches into a histrionic tirade that continues to build in amusement as Quark's disgust is unleashed. Then he yells: "The line has to be drawn here! This far, and no further!"

I couldn't stop laughing.

It perhaps helps to know that the line was lifted almost directly from the speech Picard made in First Contact, and that First Contact co-writer Ron Moore probably had it in mind when he co-wrote "Dogs of War." It's refreshing to see an inside joke taken to such a blatantly over-the-top, self-referential, take-us-none-seriously extreme. But despite the fact the jokes aren't meant to be taken seriously, there's something about the character undercurrent that can be. Quark's story—undoubtedly DS9's last visit to Ferengi society—is without a doubt comedy, but behind it is a bizarre ring of truth.

I've never been a big fan of Ferengi episodes. More often than not, I haven't enjoyed them. ("The Emperor's New Cloak," "Profit and Lace," "Ferengi Love Songs," "Prophet Motive," the list goes on.) The biggest problem is that Ferengi shows simply aren't funny, and they prove too obvious and overplayed. Some of the common Ferengi episode problems find their way into this episode. But the difference here is that we see now where Ferengi society has gone, and where Quark is standing when the music stops.

Quark's tale revolves around Zek's announcement of retirement and the fact Zek intends to name Quark the next Nagus. Quark is of course overjoyed. He looks forward to a new life of unending wealth, avarice, and indulgence. His mischievous planning begins. About this time, Brunt shows up. I must admit I laughed when Brunt instantly recited Rule of Acquisition number whatever: "It's never too early to suck up to the boss." Subsequently, Quark comes to realize how out of touch he has become with Ferengi society the past couple years. The entire social structure has changed under Zek and Ishka's new initiatives, and now we have a Ferenginar replete with social services, taxes ("Did you say the T-word?"), and regulated trade. None of this is remotely groundbreaking drama, but I was surprised at how unannoying it was compared to the average Ferengi episode. Perhaps the jokes were a little lower-key than most Ferengi shows—and I'm sure the limited screen time for Zek and Ishka helped matters as well. This storyline was actually relatively pleasant.

What makes this hold up is the character undercurrent. Even though developments in Ferengi culture in the past have been so badly handled that they cross into offensiveness ("Profit in Lace" especially), I think I finally see a payoff here to all the changes made, never mind their previous implausibility. That payoff is simple: Ferengi society has changed ... and Quark hasn't.

The full extent of the changes are what causes Quark to go on his tirade, and it's in Quark's comic fury where the storyline works best. It's almost as if the writers have finally figured out a usable joke for the Ferengi—the fact that the joke is really all on Quark. What he upholds as "what made Ferengi society great" has been erased and replaced with a new era of budding socialism. True, it's hopelessly oversimplified and unlikely any of this would happen within a two-year period, but that's not the point. What we have is Quark, a product of his time unwilling to go boldly into the future with the rest of Ferenginar. And, dammit, his bar will be the last standing representation of what made Ferenginar great—a society that is now being turned into a travesty.

Is this a great joke? Maybe not (and it probably doesn't make up for years of bad Ferengi shows), but it is a good joke that sends the Ferengi out with some dignity. As closure for Quark, it seems very appropriate. He's always been the type who sticks by his guns, and if it means being the last Ferengi to hold onto a dying system he believes in, so be it. Armin Shimerman pulls off this role with great adeptness, walking the line separating comedy and genuine dramatic urgency in a way that proves both amusing and sincere.

Of course, the joke upon the joke is that the whole notion of Quark becoming Nagus was a misunderstanding; it's Rom who Zek planned to make Nagus—which seems somewhat fitting under the notion that "a new Ferenginar needs a new type of Nagus." And besides, Mom always liked Rom best. (Well, maybe not overall, but in certain ways.)

There's plenty more to talk about in "Dogs of War," so I'll move on. The other pieces are in tune with the "Final Chapter" structure, paving the last mile heading to next week's series finale. The Kira/Damar/Garak plot takes a turn for the worse as the three narrowly escape capture when their ship is destroyed and a resistance force on Cardassia is betrayed and eliminated. With nowhere to turn, the three seek refuge in the cellar of Mila (Julianna McCarthy), Enabran Tain's confidant from years ago, and Garak's only remaining trustable contact on Cardassia. Subsequently, Weyoun delivers news over planet-wide viewscreens that all the resistance cells have been eliminated by Dominion forces, and Kira & Co. suddenly realize they may be spending the rest of the war in Mila's basement.

I enjoyed the Orwellian atmosphere in these scenes of a totalitarian state spreading the wonderful news ("This is a great day for the Dominion," Weyoun says with an impassioned sincerity) to the citizens of Cardassia. I also enjoyed the notion that rumors persist Damar is alive, even though Weyoun has assured the population he was killed when his ship was destroyed.

The ongoing Cardassia/Bajor parallels are proving incredibly interesting. Sisko once told Li Nalas, "Bajor doesn't need a hero; it needs a symbol." And now Cardassia needs just that from Damar, such that with the organized resistance destroyed, perhaps the civilian population will revolt. A key act of sabotage might help provide a spark; when Kira & Co. blow up a Jem'Hadar facility, Damar attempts to feed the legend by making a speech to the Cardassian people in the streets. Though the sequence itself was a tiny bit stilted (there's got to be a list somewhere of all the film characters who have shouted "Freedom!"), the idea is powerful. The Cardassia storyline is easily among the best things about these final episodes.

Another issue involves Odo learning Section 31 infected him with the disease. Odo is not happy. And when he calls Sisko on the Federation's willingness to look the other way, we see a difficult situation emerging that is bound to play into the finale. Starfleet now has the cure, but they aren't offering it up to the Founders. And they'd probably be foolish to do so. But the convenience of the situation certainly is interesting, and Odo unhappily points it out. Now what? Odo and this cure will obviously be a factor in the final equation, but how? Will Odo keep his word of not taking matters into his own hands? (I'm glad to see the issue hasn't been dismissed following "Extreme Measures," which failed to raise the important questions.)

Sisko also has some good moments, like his introduction to his new starship, the USS Sao Paulo, a Defiant-class ship that, naturally, Starfleet allows him to rename Defiant. While the addition of a new Defiant might seem to lessen the impact of the previous Defiant's death, the evident awe of Sisko settling into his new ship (including the nice, simple line, "Hello, ship") really makes the scene work.

Of a more foreboding nature for Sisko is the announcement that Kasidy is pregnant, and her understandable worry about the Prophets' warning. The pregnancy wasn't planned (which itself has me wondering about ominous prophecies), but Ben and Kasidy are both very excited about it, which makes me fear for the happiness and well-being of both of them. Does tragedy await? With the large-scale attack against the Dominion being planned by the end of the episode, anything is possible. Tune in next week, as they say.

Given all that's right with this episode, I almost hate to mention what's wrong. The biggest problem with "Dogs of War" is the sometimes-awkward, uneven structure. It's a bit jarring to move back and forth between the Ferengi comedy scenes and the starkly darker themes on Cardassia. And while it would've been wrong to forego closure for Quark, it's still pretty hard to look at the Ferengi story as a necessary part of this arc. Although it was successful, it pales in comparison to the other rich material we've seen the past two months, and when there are two stories as there are here, with such different priorities and tones, they tend to get in each other's way. I hope I'm not overstating the case. "Dogs of War" is good work—but it's disparate in its thought process, perhaps by definition, considering its various subplots.

Which reminds me (I nearly forgot, there's so much going on), we also get some resolution to the ongoing Bashir/Ezri soap operatics. While the mutual pursuit game was amiably portrayed here, it's simply not that interesting—unless you are one who has been anxiously awaiting the pairing of Dax and Bashir for the sake of itself. Unlike with Worf/Ezri earlier in the arc, Bashir/Ezri doesn't have dialog that offers anything new about the characters. It is what it is and nothing more. (At least we'll no longer have to wait around for this payoff.)

But never mind. We've got two hours of this series left, and this episode works as primer on some fronts and closure on others. It's a winner—even as a Ferengi show.

Next week: All good things must come to an end.

Previous episode: Extreme Measures
Next episode: What You Leave Behind

Season Index

82 comments on this review

Rob in Michigan - Sun, Sep 21, 2008 - 3:04pm (USA Central)
I'd be interested in folk's opinion on an idea that had been bouncing in my head all through S7... that the Ferengi could have really used a "serious" episode to show that they were more than (bad) comedy relief. And what better way to flesh out their entire 'arc' (especially as to the impact on Quark and Rom) then to have the Dominion attack Ferenginar (perhaps as punishment for their supplying weaponry to the Federation and its allies)?
What the Ferengi really needed desperately was some cultural depth, and having a true tragedy could have made up for a lot of the pain we viewers had to suffer previously. Ah, well... water under the bridge, now.
Rob in Michigan - Sun, Sep 21, 2008 - 3:08pm (USA Central)
Argh... I just thought of something else I've been wanting to bring up while reading your reviews: I was always just a bit disappointed that the rest of the various alien cultures in ST were ignored during the Dominion War. They could have had a "there's more going on than what we're seeing on screen" if there had just been throw away lines regarding the Tamarians, or something like "We've gotten unconfirmed reports that the Acamar system has been blockaded."
ST has a really bad habit of introducing alien characters for one episode and never mentioning them again. This was the perfect place to use a single line of dialog to acknowledge that the wider galactic community is being impacted by the war.
Straha - Tue, Dec 23, 2008 - 11:22am (USA Central)
This episode severely suffered from the comedy part not fitting in with the other story strands. I could have done without seeing Zek, Brunt and Moogie one more time. Or at least (Rob is right about that) they should have been given a more serious storyline for ending Quark's character arc.
EP - Thu, Mar 12, 2009 - 4:00pm (USA Central)
Quark is my favorite regular character on DS9. He might be a stiff caricature of a 19th-century Dickensian taskmaster, but he's always true to himself.

I suppose the episode is a not-so-sly nod at what the writers think the future of civilization ought to be - steady socialism vice unbridled capitalism, but hey, fictional socialism can be entertaining. Although I still maintain that nothing is funnier than the Rules Of Acquisition.
Jay - Sun, Aug 23, 2009 - 4:14pm (USA Central)
Quark says he's going to replace the gold-pressed latinum fixtures with solid latinum, but didn't "Who Mourns For Mourn?" claim that latinum is actually a clear liquid?

One of the few areas where DS9 fails the continuity test.
Destructor - Thu, Jan 14, 2010 - 7:06pm (USA Central)
@Rob- agreed completely. 'The 34th Rule' would have been perfect for this, and I believe it was indeed pitched.
@Straha- I think it was important to give Quark a role in the final stretch, and it's just like DS9 to put that where we least expect it.
@Jay- I believe Quark said that the Nagus' fixtures were 'coated' with gold-pressed latinum, and Quark was going to replace them with fixtures that were completely made of gold-pressed latinum. A toilet made ENTIRELY out of undiluted latinum would be worth more than all the wealth in the alpha quadrant- impossible even for a Nagus.
Marco P. - Mon, Aug 30, 2010 - 10:47am (USA Central)
"Uneven" is quite right.

In a way this almost feels like a fluff episode, because even though we have the Cardassia storyline, and the succession of the Grand Nagus is of direct importance to Ferengi and their homeworld society, it is treated with too much of a "light" tone I thought. Then again, Ferengi usually *are* the comic relief in DS9, so that was to be expected.

Then we have the Ezri/Bashir relationship, which somehow the writers have managed to drag on for several episodes, and which finally reaches its resolution. But is it just me, or did anyone else NOT care about this one? I thought in the long run, it just came out of nowhere! To me, it looked as if one second Ezri and Bashir are going about their business, Ezri still somewhat struggling about what it all means to be a joined Trill and Julian going about his genetically-enhanced life, trying to find a cure for Odo's disease and battling against Section 31 and whatnot. And then all of a sudden, the two characters realize they are in love with each other! I'm not saying this isn't what happens day-to-day in everyday life, but within the DS9 context... is it important? Are we supposed to *care* (for reasons other than our affection for the Bashir and Ezri characters)?

See, if we compare this to the way Jadzia/Worf get romantically involved, I felt the latter got handled with a bit more grace, that's all.

In any case, I'm curious to see what the final two episodes have in store for us.
Elliott - Fri, Jan 14, 2011 - 8:50pm (USA Central)
AGHHH

I f**king hate the demonisation of the Federation! The fact that they would choose to withhold the cure from the founders is some writer's contrivance. It has no basis in the established doctrine of Federation procedures. At all. Odo's snide comment to Sisko is just too much to tolerate. Here's a perfect opportunity to demonstrate the idealism which defines Star Trek. The Federation offers the cure to the founders. No exchange, no cease fire, nothing. That kind of compassion (though I doubt the founders would care themselves enough to end the war) would be a gesture recognised by Breen and perhaps even the Vorta and would potentially weaken the Dominion's position. But no, take the pessimistic, genocidal option. F••k this show.
jon - Thu, Jan 27, 2011 - 5:32pm (USA Central)
Sorry the Founders have shown little or no compassion towards the federation and there at war a war which they started so the answer is no
Elliott - Thu, Jan 27, 2011 - 5:58pm (USA Central)
The rules which govern today's warfare do not govern the future's (as those of the past do not govern today's). One of the central features of the Federation is the moral high-ground, especially when it becomes difficult. It may be frightful and certainly risky to offer the Founders the cure, but it's still the right thing to do. Otherwise, what's left of the Federation after the war would not have been worth saving.
jon - Fri, Jan 28, 2011 - 8:33am (USA Central)
Would this be the same moral high ground where they can't interfere in a situation even when they can save thier lives and the lives of their crews read Janeway and the Kazon who was perfectly happy to sacrifice her crew in order to retain the moral high ground and guess what the genocide of the founders is condemmed and what makes you think the founders wouldn't reason this action as a trick since they have no reason to trust them and the federation would be seen as weak by the Vorta and the Breen. Also the Vorta and Jemhader have with notable exception shown themselves to be completely obeident to the founders.

Also Roddenberry's rules should not govern how Star Trek should be run. Guess what it was Coon, Fontana and others who made Trek great. You know when he had full control of the Franchise it sucked TMP and TNG season 1 were awful why becuase of Gene Roddenberry.

Your problem is you treat Roddenberry's opinions and thoughts as dogma not his views all DS9 was dare to question this and you can't stand that
Elliott - Thu, Feb 3, 2011 - 3:47pm (USA Central)
@Jon

It has taken considerable effort to mill through the dribble you posted at me but I've garnered these points:

1) You think Janeway's decision to destroy the Caretaker's array was a case when adhering to principals was the wrong choice given the outcome.

2) You think that, strategically, it would be foolish for Starfleet to give the Founders the cure given the political structure of The Dominion as we've seen it.

3) At Roddenberry's direction ("full control of the franchise"), Trek "sucked."

4) You see me as treating Roddenberry's views as dogma and DS9 as courageous for "questioning" them.

Okay, well, let's dive in:

1) I'd rather not delve to deeply into a VOY issue on this page as it is a DS9 review, but Janeway's decision and its ramifications both ethical and circumstantial were adressed throughout its seven-year run right up unto the last episode. It was never laid to rest but discussed intelligently over time.

2) You seemed to have missed the point here. If these events were real, it is certainly possible that the Founders would have been completely cruel and made no offers for peace and certainly possible that neither the Breen nor the Vorta would respond in a positive way to the gesture either. If that were to be the case, 1) it wouldn't have mattered down the line except for Odo's final character development and 2) it STILL would have been the right thing to do. Machiavellian strategies have rarely been contested for their immediate effectiveness but for their moral contortions. What would be left of the Federation after this war? What kind of society could simply ignore the atrocious abandon of values it employed to win?

3) Gene Roddenberry was not a good cinematographist. His sense of television dynamics was dated and lacked the depth of his sci-fi vision. His "rules" never governed how a show could be developed, just how the Universe the characters inhabited could function. He defined reality for the franchise. Seasons 3 and 4 of TNG, which were excellent and some of the best television in history, still followed his "dogma."

4) I welcome an intelligent dissection of his or anyone's theories on screen, but DS9 rarely offered one. It CHANGED established realities about the Trek universe and never explained it. It then took the changed chess pieces and played them spouting the same rhetoric as in the Roddenberry days. The result? It sounds like those who follow his views are ignorant, foolish or hypocritical. But this sound is achieved by a deception, not an honest analysis of the views. Is Gene's world perfect? No, not at all. Is Earth paradise? Of course not, how stupid. But people on this series say things of this nature without provocation and set themselves up to be righted by more reasonable people. If the Federation really had been a bunch of brain-dead, doe-eyed optimists it never would have survived for so long.

A final note, please stop telling me to do things like "guess what" in your responses. I welcome debate, but you're just trying to rattle me.
jon - Fri, Feb 4, 2011 - 10:54am (USA Central)
Elliot if you think i want to rattle you then to quote Nemesis "don't be so vain"

1) My reason for pointing Voyager was because you seem to like it so much and I was pointing out how stupid that was. Watching Voyager again it seems to me that they played it safe all the time whereas DS9 didn't and that's what I like about DS9 in some voyager should have done what DS9 did.

2) As you said if these events were real well Elliot it's a story and not real so why would it have been the right thing to do either way. The intention with the dominion war was to draw parralells with WW2 watch a nmuber of war episodes like benhind the lines or read the DS9 companion and you'll see my point so it could be argued that the virus is an allegory for the A-bomb.

3) My problem with Roddenberry is that many of the problems with TNG's first season were down to him he helped shoot down Blood and fire which could have been a fascinating story if filmed.

4) DS9 did not completely change Roddenberry's vision as Behr says in the compaanion which is a good read BTW that to have paradise you have to wrok your ass for it.

5) Coming from someone who said the mythos of trel should be treated as sacred like a coveneant and meant this literally talk dribble least i don't talk talk complete BOLLOCKS
Elliott - Tue, Feb 8, 2011 - 7:41pm (USA Central)
See, this is what always happens in these DS9/VOY debates: Someone (in this case Jammer) who is either familiar (as in this case) with TOS and TNG and has a valid if biased literary critique judges the architectural devices employed in DS9 against the dated episodic format of VOY. I won't pretend that I didn't hope as much as anyone for the long story arcs and multi-episode developments of DS9 in my Voyager...but this is a WAY to tell a story. It is a style. Style cannot account for content. DS9 syphoned the mythology out of Trek. There have always been two schools of literary thought which oppose one another (Metastasio v. Bel Canto, Greek satyr v. mediæval palinode, etc.) and Trek was of the Romantic ideal of the mythic archetype. That means that the characters are larger than life and exist outside of the context of time. By that virtue, their actions speak to us as though from all directions. DS9 had human-scale characters. It is impossible to create these level characters in a society which is completely fictional (the Federation), so its characters are really just people from the 1990s who have starships and replicators. For me, this take ruined what was special about Star Trek and turned into any other show. In that context, the show had some definite positives, but it relied heavily on "biting commentary" about the Trek Universe to make its impact (you call it "playing it safe"). I'll say it again though, this commentary is a farce: if one changes the rules of the game it is an entirely new game. I think that maybe Trek should have died after TNG (seasons 6 and 7 were pretty bad overall), but since DS9 came along to muddy and confuse the situation deceptively, the relevance and staying power of Voyager became quite justified and necessary. Enterprise is another story...

I don't think you really know what you're saying in most of your responses to me, but I do believe you're implying that dropping the A-bomb was undoubtedly the right thing to do in WW2. I refuse to debate that with you, but it certainly proves my point: this is not the 24th century Federation, it's 1945 America.
Weiss - Wed, Feb 9, 2011 - 1:35pm (USA Central)
the show was entertaining and scifi has changed since next gen, society has changed and tv shows need to adapt to the reality of the day and comment on that... to each their own, if one feels TNG was the best that is opinion, and other DS9.

although from my recollection, next gen picard was all about the Prime Directive, we cant interfere. But every episode involved him interfering in a roundabout clever way (Data setting up the mine field to show the Romulan interference was a good example), not violating the PD words but definitely violating the spirit of the law.
DS9 took it a step furhter and stopped trying to be clever in their hippocricy and proceeded to just violate the PD openly.

Elliott - Wed, Feb 9, 2011 - 1:47pm (USA Central)
The Prime Directive is not really what I was talking about, but if you want to bring it up; the PD is a law. The best laws can and should be followed to the letter MOST of the time in most situations. A wise society however trains its citizens and especially its military leaders (Starfleet captains) to think critically about the application of the law and there are definitely cases in which a violation of the law is the right thing to do. Picard wasn't hypocritical in his violations. They are documented (see "The Drumhead") and explained on a case by case basis. DS9 didn't have too many dealings with the PD as it encountered mostly cultures which were allies or enemies. When Sisko did violate the PD it was not openly ("In the Pale Moonlight").

It was not a violation of the PD's spirit to expose Romulan involvement in the Klingon CW; it was simply extending the spirit of the law to a culture which was threatening the Federation's ally.
Weiss - Wed, Feb 23, 2011 - 11:29am (USA Central)
to each their own, rationalization works to create grey,black,white areas where you want to see it


--
thinking about the whole Klingon CW, technically isnt the Federation responsible for it... Sela was born of future Yar, a federations officers choice to go to the past, and Sela's birth eventually lead to the the CW... too bad we didnt see much of Sela after the few episodes she was in. then again I doubt Romulans would take kindly to repead failures.
Nic - Thu, Feb 24, 2011 - 11:35am (USA Central)
"Blood and Fire" (the original story idea about homosexuals) was not shot down by Gene Roddenberry. Early in the fifth season he announced that there would be homosexual characters in an episode of TNG. Then he died, and the script was shot down by Rick Berman & others.

Anyway, getting back to "The Dogs of War", I agree that the shifting between the two otherwise great stories was a little jarring, but I don't see how it could have been otherwise. Quark's story arc needed closure, but a 100% Ferengi-centric episode at this point would have been too distracting from the main plot. It was better to 'get it out of the way' here rather than cram it into an already jam-packed finale.
Shane - Sat, Mar 12, 2011 - 8:54pm (USA Central)
CLOSURE? WHAT CLOSURE? Is it me or did Quark end the show that exact same way he began it? Only thing that was different was that he was a little nicer. That's about it. In some ways too damn nice. In the 7th Season he all but abandoned his greedy ways. Did he find someone to love, did he become rich, did anything he did have any affect on his life whatsoever. Hell no!!!!!! He went from being a nice greedy ferengi to being a nicer greedy ferengi. The writers dropped the ball royally with his character. Rom wasn't even a main character(he wasn't even a favorite back up like Nog or Martok) but he got more character progression then Quark.

I love DS9, but the writers deserve a boot in the ass for that screw up.
Nic - Sat, Mar 12, 2011 - 11:11pm (USA Central)
Although like Jammer I'm not a fan of most Ferengi episodes, I don't think the writers dropped the ball on Quark's character. In real life, some people change, and some people always stay the same. Quark is an example of the latter, and I think it's very appropriate that he ended the series pretty much where he started it.
Ron Mouse - Wed, Mar 16, 2011 - 12:22pm (USA Central)
I can't believe no one has said this yet but the Ferengis first ever episode on TNG was called "The Last Outpost" which guest starred "Armin Shimmerman" and now Quarks Bar is "The Last Outpost" of the Ferengi Alliance - brilliant.
Jay - Sat, Nov 19, 2011 - 10:43am (USA Central)
Rom's fortune sure has increased dramatically since he was bidding for Quark's dessicated remains to his offer for the bar here...who knew Starfleet paid its technicians so well?
Justin - Mon, May 7, 2012 - 10:19am (USA Central)
After reading this entire thread, the only thing I took out of jon's incoherent babbling and Elliot's usual, boring rejoinders was...

"The Mythos of Trel"

Is that a forgotten episode of TOS?
Elliott - Tue, May 8, 2012 - 5:07pm (USA Central)
@Justin :

www.jammersreviews.com/st-tng/s5/darmok.php

See my quote from Majel B.

Sorry I bore you, but if you have something relevant to say about this episode, please do. Your post is unnecessarily mean-spirited.
Laroquod - Sun, Jun 24, 2012 - 7:56am (USA Central)
I'm 100% behind all of the things Eliott has said above. Well done, Eliott, you did a bang-up job with this one.

Regarding this episode, Ezri and Julian's endless pussyfooting is ridiculous and not funny. Despite being described by Worf as an overgrown child, I haven't been buying that description of his character since season 2 and he is definitely too old for this. With Ezri it's even less believable because she has something like 300-odd years of memories of courting rituals.

As for Quark, his story made even less sense. Didn't the Quark already get appointed Grand Nagus by Zek, like wasn't that one of the first if not the very first did thing Zek did to him back when they first met? And it all turned out to be a big ruse to trap Quark, right? So why would he just blindly believe Zek, this time? He just walks right into it -- even to the point of selling his bar. This is not the same character as the Quark from season 1. This Quark is not even from the same universe as season 1.

Come to think of it, none of the Starfleet people are from the same universe either, nor is the Federation itself. Did we get permanently stuck in DS9's ridiculous mirror universe? Or did the DS9 writers get so infected with not caring (by not caring about the mirror universe characters) that they started to not care about the main universe characters, too? I mean why not, right? Apparently DS9 fans just eat that stuff up, regardless.
Ian - Wed, Jul 25, 2012 - 9:15pm (USA Central)
In the meantime the best part of the episode was the quick shot of the dedication plaque.
It was almost certainly done on purpose as you can see (especially on freeze frame) the names of the creative staff behind the show. This and the final scene in Quarks when many of the creative staff were in the audience is a nice tribute to the show.

As to the episode itself and the conclusion that follows. DS9 remians the second best, behind TOS, of the franchise.
Latex Zebra - Wed, Oct 24, 2012 - 7:07am (USA Central)
This Federation that is not giving the cure to the Founders is the same that got very angry with Picard for not wiping out the Borg (iBorg) when they had the chance.
A Federation that in Star Trek 6 had large sections that opposed peace with an enemy and instead wanted to bring them to their knees.
A Federation that, if you want to take this program seriously), went to go and destroy the Xindi after they attacked Earth.

Seems to me that the Federation may be a lovely place to live but if you threaten their existence they turn nasty.
Nothing inconsistent with previously established conventions IMO.
Arachnea - Wed, Dec 5, 2012 - 4:14am (USA Central)
What I'm about to rant about is not a way to destroy the show, but to give my perspective on things. DS9 was mostly a good show, for its story arcs and developements, for its incredibly well written and well acted guest characters and some of its humour.

But, and there's a big but, it wasn't true to what Star Trek stood for. Through my enjoyment of it, I often was angry at the same time.

In the last episode, seeing the two regulars who were very Starfleet resolve to use the "end justifies the means" plot was terrible. Here we have one of the "greyish" characters of the show tell a (not very) Starfleet captain that Starfleet is dirty ? I can't accept that in the Trek Universe. It's wrong in so many ways not to give a cure... (I won't be talking about the cloudy take on religion, but if my language was english, I surely would, in length :p). I just believe this show should have been produced outside of Trek: it could have been even better under other premisces.

Just a note to Latex Zebra: What happened in Enterprise was before the Federation existed.
Caleb - Sat, Aug 31, 2013 - 1:11pm (USA Central)
DS9 is about DS9. It went in different directions and certainly toyed about with the Star Trek universe... good! Or at least, so what? It's fiction. It's an alternate view of the federation, and one that strikes a lot closer to the reality of what civilization and technology actually offers the human race and has done so throughout history. Sometimes it's dumb and mixed up, sometimes it's pretty smart and interesting. Same can be said for most Trek. The difference for me is that the "utopian" Star Trek of Roddenberry, while I appreciate it, is far too entrenched in the myth of progress and the false promises of modernity for me to take much of it seriously as social criticism. Civilization, government, technology, so-called "progress" - if we take history as a pattern, these things do more to destroy humanity than to uplift or enhance human life.

I like that DS9 is at least sometimes informed (seemingly) by alternate non-utopian and non-conformist views of these things. Whereas Roddenberry's Star Trek more often preaches the religion of statism, and continually reinforces the notion of state power as the savior of humanity.
Spencer - Wed, Sep 18, 2013 - 10:18am (USA Central)
Amen Elliot. DS9 isnt scifi or particularly deep, it's just the usual xenophobic boogeyman villain stuff, relying on bad guy dialogue and super weapons. The first few seasons, when the Bajoran storylines were going on, were actually more complex and original than the dominian tales.
Nathaniel - Wed, Sep 18, 2013 - 8:16pm (USA Central)
"DS9 isn't scifi"

DS9. Isn't. Scifi.

Words fail me.
Elliott - Wed, Sep 18, 2013 - 11:36pm (USA Central)
In fairness, to say DS9 wasn't sci-fi is just silly, but I'm willing to assume that it was one of those emotional hyperboles...

I would foray to assume the sentiment stems from the fact that DS9's sci-fi features weren't usually very impressive and tended to have little to do with what the show did do well. Sci-fi doesn't have to be "deep," as Spencer lamented, but we Trekkers tend to like it deep, I believe.
Kotas - Sun, Nov 10, 2013 - 5:34pm (USA Central)

Predictable episode.

4/10
Galaktikhonk - Wed, Dec 18, 2013 - 11:19pm (USA Central)
Well, despite the uneveness of the plot threads, I don't really understand why the Federation covers the act of genozide without even considering to at least offer the dominion the cure **in exchange for their complete withdrawl from the Alpha quadrant.** The Founders might take that or not, but *then* it really is not anymore the Federation's problem. *Then* the Founders had the choice between what's more important for them: conquering the Alpha Quadrant or having the chance to survive.

However one might think about Roddenberry's legacy of the peacekeeping federation, of humanity that has overcome hunger, greed etc and evolved in a moral sense to another level - not even considering the opportunity described above was simply unnecessary since it questions *everything* 24th century-humanity stands for.

While that might work for DS9, it does not for Star Trek itself. And again, since it was completely unnecessary it leaves a sour taste, at least for me.

You're right Jammer, 'Extreme Measures' almost completely misses to point out - not to speak of discuss - the implications around the genozide (as just one of many disappointments of this episode). But putting Odo's - btw uncommented but very pointed - critizism aside, there's barely more moral struggle in this episode. I would call that a missed chance either.

Jack - Sat, Jan 4, 2014 - 7:20pm (USA Central)
So was this episode the third time they had Julian and Ezri collide in a corridor, or the 103rd? It seems like the latter.
K'Elvis - Mon, Jan 20, 2014 - 8:34am (USA Central)
Where did Rom get 5000 bars of latinum? He didn't have even a small fraction of that much money when he got married. 5000 bars for the bar, but only 50 for a Nagus' ransom? Brunt seems to be the ideal Ferengi, Quark has seemed, by Ferengi standards, a bit soft.

I agree the changes in Ferengi society would not have happened so quickly, but the show only has a short amount of time. The changes would probably have taken place over decades, but they could not have happened at all if there hadn't been pent up demand for these changes.

We have a reduction in the power of the Nagus, with decisions requiring ratification, and this reminds me of the Magna Carta. Previously, the Nagus could be deposed, but if he wasn't deposed, his decree was law. The Ferengi Commerce Authority had been used to bully dissenters, and with the changes on Ferenginar, presumably they won't have this power. The FCA will have a still have a job to do, but it will be different.
Nissa - Tue, Jan 28, 2014 - 12:28am (USA Central)
What irritates me about the Ferengi nonsense is that I've actually read books. They portray capitalism as something that makes people greedy and selfish, but when you look at it historically, the most equal and fair nations have become so in the capitalist periods. In some nations, equality means women logging just as many trees as men in the frozen tundra.

The Ferengi in this series feel like an outlet for very bad propaganda, or else clumsily handled political drivel.
Paul M. - Tue, Jan 28, 2014 - 6:48am (USA Central)
@Nissa: "They portray capitalism as something that makes people greedy and selfish, but when you look at it historically, the most equal and fair nations have become so in the capitalist periods."

While it's certainly true that the world advanced the most and achieved the greatest standard of living during capitalism, it should be noted that the greatest social equality is achieved in the European-style social-democratic capitalism.

Now I'll shut up as I have no intention of steering the thread into a political argument.
Daniel - Mon, Feb 10, 2014 - 4:15am (USA Central)
Unfortunately, Paul, as I've seen it, sometimes the political arguments seem to find their way into the show, whether we like it or not.

To me, it always seemed like at least a few of the writers despised what Quark and the Ferengi stood for- the greed, the capitalism, etc. To these writers, the best way of them to express their politics against capitalism was to make Quark suffer.

So we got episodes and dialogue that, quite honestly, had characters treating Quark very, VERY rudely. This despite the fact that he actually showed traits of kindness, courtesy, bravery and self-sacrifice at times. Would purely self-interested profit monger bend his knee, ready to die at the hands of a Klingon, to help save the house of Grilka? I don't think so. And who was the one who organized the rescue of Ishka, while Rom basically ran around crying? Quark.

I guess what I see as the problem is that Quark isn't just "the greedy capitalist" or whatnot- Armin and (a few) of the writers gave him a depth and nuance that went beyond the shallow one-dimensional stereotype, and the rest of the writers then proceeded to shove him into episodes that made every other Ferengi around him look like a ridiculous idiot. It might have been "funny" for some, but it was just sigh inducing on many occasions.
DLPB - Sun, Feb 23, 2014 - 8:09pm (USA Central)
Here's a perfect opportunity to demonstrate the idealism which defines Star Trek. The Federation offers the cure to the founders. No exchange, no cease fire, nothing. That kind of compassion (though I doubt the founders would care themselves enough to end the war) would be a gesture recognised by Breen and perhaps even the Vorta and would potentially weaken the Dominion's position.
======

Are you serious? On what planet are you living?
Corey - Mon, Feb 24, 2014 - 6:47pm (USA Central)
"While it's certainly true that the world advanced the most and achieved the greatest standard of living during capitalism"

Capitalism has more blood on its hands than any other epoc, with the US alone waging 3.4 overt and covert wars a year. And remember, the world "advanced" under slavery too (there are more slaves under capitalism then at the height of chattel slavery, not to mention 80 percent of the planet on less than ten dollars a day). Indeed, the "civil rights" fought for under the epoch of capitalism (which is over 400 years old and encompasses some of the most brutal and bloody periods of history) tend to be opposed by the ruling/capitalist class and fought for by those outside the system.

"Are you serious? On what planet are you living?"

I thought Elliot's A-bomb comment answered this stuff succiently.


, it should be noted that the greatest social equality is achieved in the European-style social-democratic capitalism.

Ric - Wed, Feb 26, 2014 - 2:48am (USA Central)
"Are you serious? On what planet are you living?"

There is no better proof that Elliott is right than this misplaced question. Why? Well, this question is sort of demanding Elliott and others to see DS9 precisely with more 20-21st century realism in mind. This question makes it clear how DS9 at this point was just extrapolating 20th reality to the Trek universe to the point of making this question above to be possible. It would have been a non-sense question from a TOS or TNG viewer.

That is exactly why Elliott has said that DS9 was (for me it became at some point) just 1990 men with phasers and replicators. More 1945 America than 24th future society. People have to stop confusing things: if one thinks that the direction DS9 took Trek was for the better, this is fine and is a right anyone has of feeling as they please. Another thing less idiosyncratic is to say that DS9 did not change Trek's universe. Federation was idealistic, utopian-like, romantic, during decades of show, films, cartoons and so on. Now, it is so pragmatic that accepts to pursue genocide and leads people to ask here "on what planet are you living?". If this turn from utopia to realism is not a change, well, I don't know what is the definition of change for DS9 fans.

Oh, and do not get me wrong: I really liked DS9 for many seasons. Was also quite a fan. Even noticing its flaws, I welcomed its different approach to the Trek universe. But limits have to exist and DS9 forgot it and crossed the line miserably.

Lastly, it strikes me as chocking that people really think that "being at war" justifies everything. Or remembering that "they were at war" should make them, who say this, seem more realist, pragmatic, less naïve, and so on. Even in 20th century and now, committing a complete genocide - i.e. killing even all civilians of another country during a war - is not exactly common stuff. If people really wanna follow this line of argument presently realistic, let’s go full steam. The genocide friendly Federation is not realistic with what most countries have done the last 100 years. It is then more like 17th century, or at the most closer to the common sense imagination of the 20th century nazi. Realism hurts, right?
Dan - Fri, Mar 7, 2014 - 8:19am (USA Central)
Corey - "Capitalism has more blood on its hands than any other epoc"

Ah, the wonderful sound of today's public education dogma. Open your books students, today we will study America the Evil Empire.

Frankly, the Ferengi-going-socialist arc was rather embarrassing. The Ferengi were first introduced as clownish villains who represented the evils of capitalism in TNG. They were laughable villains but it goes beyond the initial bad makeup, their "evil ways" were never believable to the viewer. Capitalism is simply the ability for free people to interact freely. Try as you might, the only way to make liberty scary is to lie about it. The best Quark episodes were the ones where he stood up for Ferengi capitalism and stated that Ferengi might not be nice but they were honest businessmen. OF course, left leaning writers never could leave it at that and so the Ferengi hardly ever behaved honestly. On the other hand the Federation is well documented as being some form of socialist utopia which doesn't use money and is an impossibility of human nature.

Corey uses some of the hilariously ludicrous "factoids" that socialists love to toss around against capitalism. We all know that the planet was a peaceful dreamland of equality and bounty, where no war was ever waged through the thousands of years of its history; that is until the one day that capitalism reared its hideous head, then we had wars galore! Oh no, look out, capitalistic rulers will force you to do their bidding by "paying" you to work for them! I remember my first experience with capitalist oppression like it was yesterday. I was 16 and minding my own business, when the manager of a 7-11 accosted me off the sidewalk and forced me to work in his store at gunpoint!

Now, if we just listen to Corey there and surrender all our liberty then life would be so much more fair for everyone.
Andy's Friend - Fri, Mar 7, 2014 - 9:53am (USA Central)
@Dan:

You’re missing the point. Mentalities change. Societies change. And people change with them.

My great-grandfather, who was an Army officer and fought in the Great War, would look at most men today and call them women.

Any factory owner in the Western world in late 19th century would look at any factory owner today and call him a Socialist:

― ’What’s wrong with having twelve year old children working in the factory?!’
― ’What’s wrong with repeating the same motions twelve hours a day six days a week?!’
― ’What’s wrong with expecting a woman to be back at work two days after childbirth?!’
― ’Breaks every hour?! Give me a break, what’s wrong with you?!’

Any Scandinavian government in the late 19th century would look at any of their governments today and call them Socialist.

Any Southern European government in the late 19th century would look at any of their governments today and call them Socialist.

Any American administration in the late 19th century would look at Obama’s administration today and call it Socialist. And it’s still a long way from the Scandinavians today.

Was Scandinavia overall a better place to live in the late 19th century that the United States? I don’t think so. Is Scandinavia overall a better place to live today than the United States? I think there can be little doubt about it.

Think about it.

The highly scientifically advanced ― for their age ― Romans delighted in watching men butcher each other to death in the arena. They even enjoyed watching humans being killed by beasts.

Don’t tell me that people don’t change. That mentalities don’t change. That societies don’t change.

Read about the past. Look at the present. Imagine the future. That’s what Star Trek does.
Ric - Fri, Mar 7, 2014 - 1:32pm (USA Central)
"Ah, the wonderful sound of today's public education dogma. Open your books students, today we will study America the Evil Empire".

Ah, the wonderful smell of Cold-War thinking, which cannot deal with basic critics and even sees a phantom where it was not... This reply is the paradaigm of missing the point.

"Capitalism is simply the ability for free people to interact freely".

Really? Really? Gesus, god bless the educational books that deliver more nuanced and critical understandings about anything - Capitalism, Socialism, whatever - than this.

Let's hope for a better future in the 24th century.
Corey - Fri, Mar 7, 2014 - 6:31pm (USA Central)
"Open your books students, today we will study America the Evil Empire."

America is pretty much an evil Empire. It's usually only Americans who are unaware of how much of a neo-Colonialist Empire the "land of the free" really is. I've lived through 3 of its coups in Greece, one of its coups in Guyana and watched it wipe out all the opposition governments after Trinidad became independent (how dare you nationalise your oil!). The past 100 years is basically the 4 major Empires, and their economic arms (the World Bank, IMF and BIS), slaughtering governments, sponsering proxy militias and reordering nations to benefit them.

"Frankly, the Ferengi-going-socialist arc was rather embarrassing."

Yeah, but Quark keeps the faith and it's Quark who the audience loves watching precisely because he's an uber capitalist.

"Capitalism is simply the ability for free people to interact freely."

There's a reason three of the major physicists of their time (Einstein, Soddy, Edison) were hardcore anti-capitalists (Einstein outright called capitalism "the source of evil"): it is a totally nuts system.

The sheer level of "freedom rhetoric" ascribed to "capitalism" pretty much tells you the truth is precisely the opposite. As I said earlier, 80 percent of the world lives on less than 10 dollars a day, there are more slaves under capitalism then under the epoch of slavery, there are more black men in prison in the US than were anybody in Stalin's gulags (and more blacks in US prisons than there were black slaves in the US in 1850) and our global debt clock is so high that we'd need 15 planet earths worth of resources to pay it back. A middle class lifestyle for everyone would itself take 5 planet earths worth of resources.

Not to mention the totally immoral means in which money is created (as debt, at interest, randomly by banks whenever you ask for a loan). The economist Georgescu-Roegen summed up the result of this succintly: "There is never enough money "in capitalism" to pay back the money owed "to capitalism"."

If you've played the game Monopoly, you see how capitalism always ends up: the wealth pools in one direction and cash has to be loaned out to the "loser players" to keep the Ponzi running. AI simulations by economists like Peter Victor also show us how the system must exponentially create unpayable debts, that anyone X out of debt puts another in a correponding X level of debt (and so poverty is inescapable), and that the system exponentially increases (by expanding markets and relying on new births to push debt onto) in order to stop from collapsing. And of course capitalism must expand or die and must continually go through cycles of booms and busts, in which wealth is pooled further with each crash.

What's interesting about this expansion is that it necessitates a 3 percent annual increase in global energy (and so heat). It's been expanding at this rate like clockwork for hundreds of years.

"OF course, left leaning writers never could leave it at that and so the Ferengi hardly ever behaved honestly."

Strictly speaking, most "left leaning people" are firmly right wing. Indeed, the contemporary left exists only to support capitalism by creating checks, balances and "humane" policies to cater for the system's more ruthless excesses (for example capitalism is inherently unable to provide full employment). The mainstream left basically keeps the con running. Unsurprisingly, things like the New Deal and American welfare systems were supported by huge banks and insurance firms - throw the people a bone or they revolt entirely.

"We all know that the planet was a peaceful dreamland of equality and bounty, where no war was ever waged through the thousands of years of its history; that is until the one day that capitalism reared its hideous head"

Merchantile capitalism started in the Middle Ages. Immanuel Wallerstein wrote a series of books basically explaining that feudalism was itself capitalism (or rather that feudalism never quite existed as we think of it, as most social scientists now believe)


"I remember my first experience with capitalist oppression like it was yesterday. I was 16 and minding my own business, when the manager of a 7-11 accosted me off the sidewalk and forced me to work in his store at gunpoint!"

Where did the person whom your manager bought his land from, get the land? How did the money in this market originate? Who has the monopoly on money creation? Who makes the products in the shops? As worker are never paid enough to buy all the products they produce, what do you think HAS TO HAPPEN to the manager's shop? Capitalism is not some silly 2 party game where one person sells and one person buys.

"Now, if we just listen to Corey there and surrender all our liberty then life would be so much more fair for everyone."

Echelon, Prism and Muscular say hello.

"Ah, the wonderful smell of Cold-War thinking, which cannot deal with basic critics and even sees a phantom where it was not... This reply is the paradaigm of missing the point"

The irony is, most of the education systems in Europe are governed by both the nation's Ministry of Education and Ministry of Economics/Finance. Public education is geared toward serving "capitalism", and even economics courses and business schools focus only on micro and not macro economics. The result is millions of kids who never realy learn about how their entire social landscape operates.
Matrix - Mon, Apr 14, 2014 - 6:42pm (USA Central)
@Rob in Michigan. Love, love, loooooove those ideas. I remember when I first watched 'Valiant' and how Jake and Nog talk about how Starfleet sending Nog on some mission to Ferenginar or somewhere might lead to the Ferengi helping out in the war. I was really just hoping to see some of those big Ferengi ships we saw on TNG turn up on DS9. That second point, man I remember thinking up strategies where the Tholians and Gorn would make some kind of appearance, or at least just their ships. Plus, anyone remember in Voyager's 'Scorpion' where they talk about the Breen having organic ships? I always hoped those guys would show up with a Vorlon-type ship, but on the good guys side. Around about this same time Babylon 5 had the end of it's 4th season and they have that combined fleet of all the major races heading to liberate Earth. I would have loved something like that!
DLPB - Sat, May 3, 2014 - 8:38pm (USA Central)
Dan is spot on the money, but arguing with left wing types is a waste of time. They live in la-la land.
Spencer - Mon, May 5, 2014 - 6:50pm (USA Central)
Those damn lefties and their fighting for worker rights, democracy, civil rights, human rights, fighting against imperialism, colonialism, racism, exploitation, fighting for fair pay, for weekends, fighting against slavery, fighting for actual pay, holiday, shorter work hours (the 21 hour week wasn't so bad. Damn you lefties!), fighting for the environment etc.

Why can't the left be more like the right and fund terrorists, put dictators in power, oppose independent movements, oppose democratic elections and side with kings, queens and fascists. Damn lefties.
Markus - Wed, May 21, 2014 - 3:51am (USA Central)
I agree with the review's beginning: I couldn't help but scream out loud and repeat Quark's "line has to be drawn here and no fuuuuthaaaa" over and over again. Awesome delivery!
Yanks - Tue, Aug 26, 2014 - 8:35am (USA Central)
Dan, thank you for that wonderful account of history.

Spencer, you post is so categorically factually incorrect I just am not going to take the time to go through it.

Socialism fails every time.

Capitalism has lifted more people out of poverty than any "concept" in the WORLD's history. If there is a falsity, it’s the banking system, not capitalism. Oh, who created the 5 day work week and DOUBLED his employees’ wages? …. Hint, it wasn’t the frakin unions. Unions were needed once, now they are just a funding line for the DEM party.

Dictatorships just tally up piles of bodies…

Socialism fails because it ALWAYS runs out of other people’s money.

The West is becoming more fascist by the year. Note: Don’t let a government that financially is dependent on you, educate you.

I don’t like the way the Ferengi have been used to portray bad capitalism. Funny, written by lefty millionaires you know.

But on to this episode.

When Quark “played Picard” I was ON THE FLOOR! LOL wow Armin, you nailed it!!

Brunt kissing “ass” was funny, another great performance by Jeffry.

Rom ends up Nagus in a “not so Ferengi empire. Good luck.

I didn’t care one iota about Bashir & Ezri

The only reason the Cardassian rebellion is intriguing is that Garak is present.

Sisko is going to be a Dad again? Why?

We are set up for a big battle. Wow, didn’t see that one coming. I wonder who is going to win?

Average. 2.5 stars.
Elliott - Tue, Aug 26, 2014 - 11:45am (USA Central)
@Yanks :

"Dan, thank you for that wonderful account of history."

Excuse me, you mean those like 2 sentences he wrote?

"Spencer, you post is so categorically factually incorrect I just am not going to take the time to go through it.

Socialism fails every time."

What are you talking about? Has Norway's economy failed? How about Iceland or the Netherlands? Any system can work--China's economy is working, isn't it? The question is what quality of life a system creates for its people. Capitalism can work fine provided the State creates barriers and safeguards against monopolisation and abuse (like unions), and Communism works fine provided there are state-mandated market incentives.

The Federation economy is different because it is post-scarcity. When you can replicate anything you need or want, transport to the other side of a planet on a whim, and terraform planets to support human colonisation, there is no economic incentive to work, and therefore no need for money.
Yanks - Tue, Aug 26, 2014 - 12:17pm (USA Central)
Elliot,

No, his one sentence post about arguing with lefties.

Spencer's post was a right/left attack. Look up who voted for what before "claiming" victory.

You can go ahead and say "if" and suport socialist/communist governments. Go live there. Don't come crawling to me when they fail.

I want freedom and capitolism (yes, with rules). Funny you left out my comment on the banks. The TRUE route of all evil in the world. Iceland is the most current and accurate example of what removing regulation from the banking industry allows. Unions were once needed but over time have become just a political arm.

The ONLY reason Earth doesn't require money in Trek is becuase of technology. I've always believed that Gene's "vision" would not have been possible (accept in a dream) with out replicators.
Robert - Tue, Aug 26, 2014 - 12:55pm (USA Central)
@Yanks - "Unions were once needed but over time have become just a political arm"

I do agree we will reach a point where unions are not needed. As of today I tend to find them to be more benevolent than the people they are fighting against, but with worse press.

I won't specifically mention which unions I support (I do not belong to one however), but I will say that every contract brings worse things for the union members and that without the union I'd expect it to be even worse.

I will say that all attempts to break unions (at least government ones) have resulted in worse service from said governments. As a parent I will point to the travesty that are charter schools (yes, I know many parents swear by them, but considering they rig their scores, lower their class sizes and cherry pick their students at the expense of the rest of the populace claiming they are a success is a lot like championing an operation that'll save your foot at the cost of your leg).

As to non-government unions... I can't speak to that, but unions are far from an outdated political arm. We can complain about how much political power unions have after the last lobbyist loses their job :)
Yanks - Tue, Aug 26, 2014 - 4:28pm (USA Central)
Robert,

IMO government unions should be illegal. The Teachers unions strikes at the expense of the taxpayers and the children they are paid by the taxpayers to teach. They weald WAY to much political power. Look at that last TU strike in Chicago... eeesh. They "HAD" to have more, even though they already were being paid more that the people in the community. It was sad.

I actually have no problem with unions that do their job. PRotect their people, ensure working conditions are safe and fairly paid.

My youngest is now being homeschooled because of the inept public school system. I like charter schools. Why on earth should a child be forced to attend a bad school. There is no reason on earth. That's saying that I'm paying taxes so my children have to get a substandard education. If the public school system was doing all that great, charter schools would have never surfaced. No we have to deal with "Common Core" as well. They are digging themselves a hole, it just gets deeper and deeper.
Robert - Wed, Aug 27, 2014 - 8:24am (USA Central)
A good public school should be a right for all or none. Charter schools give to the "lucky"* few at the EXPENSE of everyone else. They DO NOT run in a zero sum, here is a better school and the other schools stay untouched game. Charter schools surfaced as a political tool to break unions. They are not there to serve you.

And as I said, EVERY union contract I have heard of recently has caused the union to lose ground on a dozen things for some more money. Politicians refuse to negotiate with unions in good faith. Here in NY, when the teachers last went on strike (which hasn't happened in forever... 1968) the majority of the public was with them.

I disagree with a lot of union policies, but in the end they are mostly more benevolent than the governments/corporations they serve. As for Chicago, I'm sure the issues were deeper than "they had to have more". As I said, unions get bad press (a hint as to why? they aren't the ones in the equation with the real power... but the guys with the power want you to think the unions have them by the balls).

*These kids aren't actually lucky, it tends to be rigged to make the charter's look better. They don't go to a low performing neighborhood and beat the local school by actually having better programs/teachers. They just snatch away the best kids.....
Robert - Wed, Aug 27, 2014 - 8:31am (USA Central)
You can of course feel free to disagree, and perhaps Charter schools do better where you're from, but here they do things like.... running a for profit school in Manhattan paying ZERO rent because our temper tantrum prone mayor that didn't want to negotiate with the unions wanted more non union schools and gave them space (for FREE) in existing schools. And then the new mayor took hell for shutting them down.

How does that work in a free competitive market? If you ran a grocery store and the government gave me half of it rent free to run my own grocery store I could put you out of business with my prices because I wasn't paying rent.... Here in NY charter schools are a joke that get good press because parents crying on TV makes for good ratings.

Your premise, that public schools suck, may not be wrong... but the guys holding the purse strings that could improve said schools give more money to administrators and then to charter schools designed to sink the low performing public schools instead of improving them. It's a lot like curing a disease by killing a patient.

I guess it just comes down to me having a much lower opinion of the government and of corporations than I do of unions....
Yanks - Wed, Aug 27, 2014 - 8:59am (USA Central)
My premise isn't they suck, 4 of my kids graduated public schools. My youngest requires some special attention and they weren't able to provide it to our satisfaction. That's where "one size fits all" we get in state run schools falls short sometimes.

There are parents lining up for charter schools for a reason. Until the state run schools understand that, nothing will improve and "Common Core" most certainly isn't the answer.
Yanks - Wed, Aug 27, 2014 - 9:03am (USA Central)
Oh, and "rigged" is a relative term. They teach the SOL's for 3 weeks prior to giving them here. How that isn't seen a "rigging" is beyond me.

What's the difference between public schools and charter schools? It's not the kids, it's the Teachers Union.
Robert - Wed, Aug 27, 2014 - 9:25am (USA Central)
"My premise isn't they suck, 4 of my kids graduated public schools. My youngest requires some special attention and they weren't able to provide it to our satisfaction. That's where "one size fits all" we get in state run schools falls short sometimes."

For sure, and it's getting worse. Schools are now expected to service all but the most severe cases in the classroom now, whereas previously that was not the case. I can't imagine these kids get what they need. And my kids go to public school too, but I selected my house SPECIFICALLY so they could go to a good one. For every kid like mine someone else goes to a substandard school.

"Oh, and "rigged" is a relative term. They teach the SOL's for 3 weeks prior to giving them here. How that isn't seen a "rigging" is beyond me."

Teaching to the test is ridiculous, but it's nothing new... I was having it done to me in school 30 years ago. I doubt that charters do that any differently or not.

"What's the difference between public schools and charter schools? It's not the kids, it's the Teachers Union."

I won't persist arguing this on a ST forum, but I did explain several differences that you mostly rejected. If you honestly believe the charter schools are "better" because of the absence of the teacher's union.... all I can say is that I hope the Kool Aid was yummy because you're buying what the politicians are selling. You really should read up on all the horrible things charters are doing to "pretend" to be better than the local schools. They are nothing more than a propaganda piece designed to scapegoat educations problems on the teachers instead of the politicians. There is a LOT of reading to be done out there if you want the truth.

But I've said my peace, I've enjoyed chatting with you and reading your reviews and while I was tempted to start sourcing 100 reasons why charter schools are NOT the solution to the problem you present (or the teacher's union the cause) if I'm going to have 20 thread post about something on here I'd rather it be the nature of the prophets or if Phlox was wrong for not curing the Valakians.

Yanks - Wed, Aug 27, 2014 - 10:05am (USA Central)
:-)

No problems. I have done a bit of reading, probably not as much as you. Of course there are good and bad. nothing is perfect. I'm not saying that charter schools are the Holy Grail but I will stick to my point. Why are parents wanting to remove their kids from public schools? Until that is answered, and answered truthfully, nothing will change.

Phlox was a prophet!!! lol
Robert - Wed, Aug 27, 2014 - 10:12am (USA Central)
"Why are parents wanting to remove their kids from public schools? Until that is answered, and answered truthfully, nothing will change. "

No argument here! I just think that the proposed solution is like killing a patient to stop a disease. It may solve your immediate problem, but I don't know that you enjoy what you're left with :P

The point you are sticking with is not wrong though.
M.P. - Tue, Sep 16, 2014 - 11:10pm (USA Central)
Oh good Lord. It is insanely ironic. In the comment section about a show which successfully hosted grey content; most of you are simplifying extremely complex issues into black and white.

This is the simplest way to say it. Neither socialism nor capitalism is "right." Both have good and bad points. Both are highly grey. Right is relative.

Anyway, about the actual show. It is fine if you do not like DS9 based soley on it not fitting in with an idealized-Roddenberry vision. Saying that is also fine, to a point. But I see many repeat names (Elliot being the most prolific, I believe) commenting on every episode the same diatribe. "DS9 sucks because the Federation isn't being portrayed as a Roddenberry utopia."

We get it. We get why you don't like it. Hammering that into every episode's comment section is ultimately self-defeating. You just come across as a whiny DS9-hater chest-thumping for the sake of being heard.

Most of you are better than that; your intelligence shows it. So at least step up your game and give us something else if you must keep commenting about the same subject.
Elliott - Wed, Sep 17, 2014 - 10:58am (USA Central)
@M.P.

"In the comment section about a show which successfully hosted grey content; most of you are simplifying extremely complex issues into black and white."

I'd take exception to the "successfully hosted grey content" portion, but I agree with your conclusion here.

" I see many repeat names (Elliot[t] being the most prolific, I believe) commenting on every episode the same diatribe. 'DS9 sucks because the Federation isn't being portrayed as a Roddenberry utopia.'"

No mention of the "insanely ironic" here? That you have reduced criticism of this show (or at least mine) to a repetitive (yet somehow also prolific) "diatribe" about Roddeberrian Utopia.

This episode's comment thread alone has 8 postings from me (not including this one) spanning almost four years' time--does it really take that much writing to say I'm a DS9-hater? Please. If you don't want to read my comments, that's entirely your prerogative, but please don't snidely dismiss what you've obviously chosen not to bother to understand.

That DS9 didn't "fit with" or chose to undermine the TOS/TNG Federation vision is not a subject with which I take issue, it's the *how.* And the *how* differs (usually) from episode to episode, thus meriting a specific response. Because you've already chosen to corral any criticism of the DS9 ethos into a "well, it's not what Roddenberry would have wanted" camp, you see any comments to that effect as being repetitive, when they are not. I would speculate that this belief is bolstered by your claim that DS9 "successfully hosted grey content," which I find at least partly erroneous. DS9 certainly liked to host grey content, but it very often failed to actually give voice to points of view which contribute to those real-world dilemmas such situations allegorised, making its philosophical content often woefully one-sided and intellectually stilted in some New Age, college sophomore-level mediocrity.
Robert - Wed, Sep 17, 2014 - 12:37pm (USA Central)
@Elliott - On my own pondering of greyness...

First to your point about giving voice to opposing points of view.

1) Tuvix - This was as grey an episode/theme set as it got, and Captain Janeway's final action should have been very controversial... but literally everyone agreed with her (except maybe the doctor, but he barely even morally objected, he just couldn't do the procedure without consent).

2) For The Uniform - Sisko poetically poisons a planet in such a way that humans cannot live there but Cardassians can, some might say poetic justice (including me) since they can switch with the Cardassians who the Maquis poisoned earlier, but the closest we got to an objection is Worf hesitating to push the torpedoes for a second. And he didn't clear it with Starfleet.

These are grey episodes and themes, but on TNG Dr. Crusher would have been forcefully making her case, and possibly a few others. That said, I don't know that it makes DS9 intellectually stilted and sophomoric or that it failed to host grey content. I feel like what was grey about DS9 (in a refreshing way) was that we were not always supposed to agree with our heroes. Take "Hippocratic Oath". I THINK the episode intended for us to agree with Bashir, but I'm not sure. And even if it did, that sort of makes O'Brien the villain of the piece.

The successfully grey pieces were the characters. Some had their dark sides added better than others (Sisko/Kira's dark sides were explored MUCH better than Odo's in my opinion) but they all felt more like real people in some ways than the TNG crew. They had rough edges. Where it did fail is that when dealing with questionable content you often want somebody objecting (it can be horrifying as in Tuvix when something like that is going down and nobody objects). But I don't know that it happened on DS9 as often as you think it did. That was handled better in TNG though.

VOY I usually felt like the characters were too broken by their dictator to disagree with her....
Robert - Wed, Sep 17, 2014 - 12:53pm (USA Central)
I think that in earlier seasons of DS9 they had those kinds of TNGish round table discussions (like the discussion in Playing God about destroying the proto universe), but in later seasons (especially in the middle of the war) they just had less time for those kinds of scenes and so they did away with a lot of them. A lot of S2/S3 episodes had pieces like that when it was needed (Blood Oath, The Maquis, The Abandoned, and Life Support to name a few... even some later episodes like Children of Time had them).

I don't usually feel like it was detrimental to the episode to not have it either, but sometimes it was. The real issues were things that took place in the war like Odo/Sisko not resigning on the spot when the Federation ordered him to not stop the genocide of the founders, or nobody blinking when he poisoned a planet or everyone going back to being buddies with Odo the day after he betrayed them. The show often tried to tackle some themes that were greyer than they were willing to handle. But I think it was rare.
Elliott - Fri, Sep 26, 2014 - 11:42am (USA Central)
"The successfully grey pieces were the characters."

Well, that doesn't really work, does it? I mean, yes, in order to deal with moral dilemmas in dialogue, you need characters with differing views to debate the issue in some fashion, so having a mélange of personalities and ethics is good on a show like DS9. BUT, most of the characters' diverse views were never properly scrutinised--Kira's credulity, O'Brien's false optimism, Sisko's Machiavellianism, Jake's naïvety, Dax' childishness. Don't get me wrong, the views were *addressed* but they weren't scrutinised--the characters never had to answer for or justify their positions, they just had them. Thus, the audience was shortchanged a real grey-area polemic in favour of bland multiculturalism.

I personally saw "Tuvix" and Tuvix very differently from the majority. I never considered Tuvix to be a person in his own right. As he himself noted, he had "the will to live of two men." His sense of self-preservation made him *seem* like a person, but it was simply a product of Tuvok's and Nelix' senses of self-preservation commingling. Janeway's dilemma was setting aside her (and her crew's) emotional, sentimental response to Tuvix' pleas in order to do what she had to to save her officers. Doc's objection also makes sense in this reading as his programming is very rigid when it comes to protecting life, the philosophical considerations of said life be damned.

"VOY I usually felt like the characters were too broken by their dictator to disagree with her..."

Oh, don't tell me you've hopped on the SFDebris Janeway-the-crazy-dictator bandwagon, too!?
Robert - Fri, Sep 26, 2014 - 1:12pm (USA Central)
"Well, that doesn't really work, does it? I mean, yes, in order to deal with moral dilemmas in dialogue, you need characters with differing views to debate the issue in some fashion, so having a mélange of personalities and ethics is good on a show like DS9. BUT, most of the characters' diverse views were never properly scrutinised--Kira's credulity, O'Brien's false optimism, Sisko's Machiavellianism, Jake's naïvety, Dax' childishness. Don't get me wrong, the views were *addressed* but they weren't scrutinised--the characters never had to answer for or justify their positions, they just had them. Thus, the audience was shortchanged a real grey-area polemic in favour of bland multiculturalism."

I'm not 100% sure what you're getting at here to be honest. My point was just that these grey, imperfect characters felt more real than the archetype-out-of-the-character-bible characters that we got more of on other shows.

Like Kira has an arc that starts long before the series begins. It's got a lot of dark in it, but it's also got a lot of light and in S1 it has her learning to forgive herself ("Battle Lines") and eventually even confronting her own hate ("Duet"). And by the end it takes her full circle and puts her in the roll of a terrorist... helping the people she used to terrorize. I'm not sure you mean that her "credulity" was never scrutinized... but by the end of S7 she was a real person, with a real story and real shades. Compare to Harry Kim or Tuvok or Neelix... none of whom really grew that much past their character bible descriptions. Sure they'd have their moments, but it'd be gone again by the next episode. Big, big, big exception for the Doctor.

"Oh, don't tell me you've hopped on the SFDebris Janeway-the-crazy-dictator bandwagon, too!? "

LOL, you and I we've had other discussions about Janeway... you know I'm not a fan. I've long said that there was more than 1 Janeway that popped up based on what the writers wanted and that they are not reconcilable with each other. But mostly it was a crack.

Honestly though? The Janeway that demotes Paris for trying to save the ocean is not the same Janeway from S2 that put Chakotay on report for stealing a shuttle. The one that formally reprimands Harry Kim for having sex is not the same Janeway that went easy on Neelix in Fair Trade. I liked Janeway the scientist, I liked Janeway the matriarch of this family. I just really, really don't like the dictator one. And that one pops up a lot in later seasons. Every single time Chakotay and Janeway butt heads I always think Chakotay is right and the episode ALWAYS sides with Janeway.

I feel like it started in S4 largely, but the real turning point is S5. The woman that came back after locking herself up in Night was NOT the captain I used to like. She was an impostor. I really like early VOY, but the second half of the series was a retread (most of the characters learn the same lessons they should have already been through in S1-S3) with a harsher captain.
Robert - Fri, Sep 26, 2014 - 1:13pm (USA Central)
I will also say I'm not aware of the SFDebris thing and that I place no fault on Kate Mulgrew, whom I like quite a lot.
William B - Fri, Sep 26, 2014 - 2:11pm (USA Central)
@Robert, Elliott:

Not going to comment on Janeway because it's been too long, and I know DS9 from memory better. I might change my mind after rewatching DS9 -- which I hope to do after finishing TOS, though it'll partly depend on whether my girlfriend with whom I'm doing these rewatches is burned out on Trek by then (...TOS season three could conceivably do that to a person). I suspect, though, that I part ways with Elliott on the overall success of Kira as a character and Nana Visitor's performance. I'm willing to believe that Visitor has some significant growing pains in the role in the early years, and I think there are some weaknesses in the writing for the character, but overall I think Kira is probably the second-best regular character of DS9 in terms of overall achievement, emotional impact meets complexity meets overall storyarc, with Odo coming in first. (Garak is probably first if we include the nonregulars.) I really agree with Robert that Kira's overall story in terms of coming to terms with the Occupation is exceptional -- well, again, at least from memory -- and that the story keeps challenging Kira's initial and really basically understandable black-and-white view of the Occupation into something more nuanced, without ever taking away Kira's genuine righteous belief that the fundamental problem of the Occupation was that the *Cardassians shouldn't have been there*. The way Kira keeps confronting evidence that her Bajoran heroes were not as pristine, or *couldn't* avoid any potential traps, as she discovers of Opaka in "The Collaborator," or of Odo (whom she viewed as truly neutral) in "Things Past" and then, in fact, in the present as well; the way she has to confront the messy reality of Bajoran/Cardassian closeness via Ziyal and her mother (though I have big problems with "Wrongs Darker Than Death or Night," but moving on); the way she finds herself briefly on the other side of the Collaborator/rebel line in early season six. Her varied and fascinating relationships that develop with Cardassians Marritza, Ghemour, Damar and especially especially Dukat, are all great, perhaps with some flaws but with a great forward momentum, of Kira learning to find room for forgiveness and nuance now that the war is over and Bajoran future is secured. Kira leading the Cardassian resistance, and doing so willingly, is a great ending for the character, all the more so because it's *earned*. The way her relationship (whether platonic or romantic at any given moment) with Odo develops over the series, while sometimes fraught with major mistakes (I am not happy about "His Way," e.g.), leads again and again to many of the series' best moments, all often interacting with ideas of justice and redemption in which Kira and Odo both in some ways learn from the other.

But. I think the point Elliott was making -- and I'm sure he can make it better than I -- is that Kira's "credulity" is her faith in the Prophets, not just existing (which, after "Emissary," is no longer a matter of faith, since everyone agrees they exist), but in their divinity and, more importantly, total moral authority. Along with that is her faith that Sisko is some sort of messiah, when it comes up. And there I think the series did let the character down. For all the complexity, growth, and believable backsliding the show did with Kira in terms of her relationship to Cardassians and Occupying forces generally, I think there really is very little effort to hold Kira's unquestioning faith in the Prophets to the fire. An episode like "Reckoning" sort of suggests that Kira's faith that the Prophets will win against the Pah-Wraiths may be false -- but there, the question is of whether faith *in the triumph of good over evil* is misplaced, not in whether her faith that the Prophets are the good guys is misplaced. "Accession" and "Covenant" suggest avenues to poke holes in Kira's faith -- the blindness with which the Bajorans accept Akorem in the former episode, and the question of what, *if anything*, separates Kira's faith in the Prophets and Sisko from Dukat's cult's belief in the Pah-Wraiths and him, looms over "Covenant" and is pointed out in dialogue. Both episodes end up leaving things unresolved, in the former case by having the Prophets just decide that no Sisko is the real Emissary and Sisko doesn't make unreasonable demands, problem solved!, and in "Covenant" we learn that the reason religious worship of the Pah-Wraiths is wrong is because the Pah-Wraith "emissary" is a literally insane murderous dictator. I actually mind this a tiny bit less in the case of "Accession," because, well, it's still mid-series and there were still a few seasons left to revisit these themes, but in "Covenant," which also closes out the Kira/Dukat arc in a sadly frustrating and unsatisfying way, it's pretty hard to take. Similarly, the Vorta's devotion to the Prophets, literally *programmed* into them, is sort of compared to Bajoran worship of the Prophets who are superpowerful, but the way the series deals with that is frustrating, too: Weyoun points out that the Bajoran belief is silly but HIS belief is sensible "because the Founders ARE Gods." Which, in a sense, is basically the same argument that Kira, and the show itself, uses -- the Vorta's devotion to the Founders is a problem not because they've been programmed to worship without any free will, but because the Founders aren't *really* gods, unlike, one presumes, the Prophets.

I guess while I'm talking about problems with Kira, I do think that the series eventually losing interest in Bajor except to tell its religious stories does do a disservice to Kira, because eventually Kira stops having any interesting relationships with other Bajorans; by the end she's mostly only interacting with Odo, and Damar on Cardassia. The Kira/Winn dynamic carries through to one of the final arc, and that's sort of interesting -- I like that Kira is genuinely forgiving to Winn, on the condition that Winn actually takes steps to admit that she's been wrong before, and that shows some progress, I think, in terms of Kira's ability to forgive members of her own people for their sins. But besides that...scene, there's very little sense of Kira's relationship to other Bajorans in the final season, or indeed really after Ziyal's death, except for brief sci-fi diversions of questionable quality ("Resurrection," "Wrongs Darker..."). Her initial role as a representation of her planet and her planet's struggles sort of falls by the wayside as her planet's role in the series mostly disappears. And Kira is not even included as an important member in the dominant remaining Bajor plot, the religious stuff.
Robert - Fri, Sep 26, 2014 - 2:29pm (USA Central)
I totally agree with all the stuff you said in the top paragraph, couldn't have said it better, and probably agree right down to the Garak, Odo, Kira order of developed characters. I'll slightly disagree with the untested faith thing though. From her perspective...

1. There are gods that can heal the injured, alter minds, allow instant travel across great distances, time travel and make fleets disappear. And they are outside the window she looks every day.

2. They brought her the emissary and later VERY MUCH proved he was the emissary.

3. The emissary kept her old oppressors at bay and new ones as well.

4. The prophets deleted a fleet of ships that was threatening her world.

5. Heck, she even sometimes felt personal victories under the eye of the prophets

a.
O'BRIEN: I might still be able to give you one more phaser blast, Major.
KIRA: No. Signal the lead Cardassian ship that we will proceed with
DAX: Major, I'm reading a huge neutrino disturbance fifteen kilometres off the forward docking ring. It's the wormhole.
KIRA: On screen.
::wormhole whooshes opens::
KIRA: Hail the lead ship. What did I tell you, Jasad? There's your wormhole!

b. ODO: Do we stand down, Colonel?
CREWMAN: Sir, we're getting a transmission from Deep Space Nine. The wormhole. It's back!
KIRA: On screen.
ODO: Nerys?
:: wormhole whooshes opens ::
KIRA: Open a channel to all Bajoran ships. Hold your position and prepare to fire on my command. Lock targets.

So they sent her the Sisko, anytime the wormhole opens when she's about to admit defeat it gives her a burst of faith and she wins, the prophets save Bajor multiple times... telling Sisko about the locusts and Bajor not joining the Federation, deleting the Jem'Hadar fleet, etc. Her emissary finds the lost city from a vision... I mean... tell me, when do they let her down? I mean... maybe, just MAYBE it would have been interesting to give her a crisis of faith, but based on the events of the show she'd be an ABSOLUTE MORON to question her faith. It ALWAYS rewards her. If my God rewarded me in such overt ways I'd never be able to doubt for a second either!
Elliott - Fri, Sep 26, 2014 - 3:30pm (USA Central)
@Robert :

It's not a question of the Prophets "letting her down," it's a question, as William B. pointed out, of her faith in them as *gods* and their presumed moral authority. It is pretty clear that, at least after "Emissary" the Prophets have an agenda for Bajor and intend to use their power to see that agenda fulfilled. Usually, this takes the form of protecting her, as your examples point out. To bring up a relevant example, Picard had the power to achieve similar "victories" for the Mentakans as the Prophets had for Bajor. Now, I'm not suggesting that the Prophets should have the same moral code as humans, but the point is, from the Mentakan point of view, there could be every reason to worship Picard as a god. Had Picard not worked hard to dismiss this result, or like the Prophets, actively encouraged it, Picard would have been the Mentakan God. Extraordinary though the Wormhole Aliens may seem to us (as does Q) in their abilities, they do not fit the description of gods in any conventional sense--they are not like Greek or Hindu gods, embodying prepsychological impulses, nor are they really like the Abrahamic God in any of his interpretations (king, clock-maker, pantheistic Urbild); they are just powerful beings who have imposed themselves on this people.

We are made to believe that the Bajorans are too developed to be so easily duped into unquestioning faith by the extraordinary abilities of the Prophets. Advanced cultures which hold on to faith do so in a Lewisian apologist manner, holding the contradiction in its proper paradoxical context, accepting the separation between metaphysics and physics. Physical, phenomenal demonstrations of power are not necessary to real faith--in fact, they are anathema to it--demonstrable acts are what *scientists* look for to test theories, not on faith, but on proof.

The fact that Kira is constantly "rewarded" for her faith (as is Sisko, by the way--except for his one penance for disobeying them) paints her not as reasonable, but as repulsively shallow. She submits her free will and her moral compass to beings who will give her and her people treats and rewards in return. Perhaps it is reasonable in a Ferengi sort of way, but that's not what the show wants us to believe.

@ William B.

As usual, bang-up job with your analysis of the weaknesses in the writing of Kira apropos her faith.

I found the topic of her reconciliation with the Occupation to be significantly better than that of her faith, *but* there were some real shortcomings, I thought. What, after all, was the consequence of her experience in "Duet"? After a heart-wrenching, tear-strewn epiphany that a Cardassian biology and/or collaboration with the Occupation does *not* condemn one to guilt or death, she goes right back to assuming Cardassians are all "cold-blooded killers." And she keeps learning the same damned lesson (Cardassians, Necessary Evil, Crossover, The Collaborator, Second Skin, Indiscretion, Things Past, Ties of Blood and Water, WDtDoN) over and over. Only at the end, does it seem like she actually *develops* in this regard. I grant, that this was a very good way to close out the character, but it seems to me like she could have got to that point in season 2, not 7. I don't think Kira's development in this regard was terrible, but her attitudes often felt like retreads of familiar ground.
Elliott - Fri, Sep 26, 2014 - 3:39pm (USA Central)
Worth mentioning in this is that your (Robert's) note about Janeway's turn after season 4 is exactly the kind of development I wanted in Kira--not precisely the same of course, their issues are different--but Janeway's experiences *changed* her outlook and her attitude over the course of the show, didn't they? Season 1 Janeway *should* not be Season 5 Janeway. I think the reason people have a problem with Janeway is that her personality (a different characteristic from her views) as well as the default power dynamic on Voyager (no admiralcy to check her decisions) meant that Janeway's character arc ended up pulling the crew along with her on the ride. Now, maybe this is unfair to the crew, but that's one of the consequences of being lost, isn't it?
Robert - Fri, Sep 26, 2014 - 4:02pm (USA Central)
I see... your issue with Kira is that she should be advanced enough to see them as wormhole aliens. So allies at best, but certainly not gods.

I like your line about "The fact that Kira is constantly "rewarded" for her faith (as is Sisko, by the way--except for his one penance for disobeying them) paints her not as reasonable, but as repulsively shallow. She submits her free will and her moral compass to beings who will give her and her people treats and rewards in return. Perhaps it is reasonable in a Ferengi sort of way, but that's not what the show wants us to believe." in a way is that not what the Federation wants from Bajor? To give them some treats (like industrial replicators) in exchange for giving the Federation their moral compass and authority?

I see your point about Kira believing them to be divine. But I think that, in some ways your "treats" line overstates your case. In all 7 years of the show every action the prophets take seems to be for the benefit of Bajor. Why wouldn't you follow an all powerful being that has your best interest at heart. Much more interesting would be an exploration of DURING the occupation. There are gods, and they are real, and they are letting this happen to their people. How interesting would that be to explore? But from my perspective anyone who came out of the occupation with their faith in tact certainly would not have it shaken during the 7 years that Kira had (pretty good ones!)

So I don't find her faith in the idea that their path for Bajor is good to be problematic. I do personally find her faith in the idea that they are Gods to be of issue (is Q a god also? She didn't seem to think so when she met him....) The only point in the series though that it really becomes problematic is "In the Hands of the Prophets", where she sides against Keiko... feeling the children should be taught that the Wormhole aliens are gods. That episode would have been a good point to address issues like the Mintakans and The Picard. But the episode did not go there and I don't know that there was every really another good opportunity to. In my case I count that as the only strike against that episode (it's one of my favorites). I wish Kira had kept a more neutral position.

Robert - Fri, Sep 26, 2014 - 4:14pm (USA Central)
@Elliott - I do agree with you about Janeway, I just didn't feel that the tone of the show warranted the change in the direction it took.

Sisko and Bashir got darker as the show went on from war weariness. I mean, I GUESS you could say that Janeway felt the loss of each life, the pain of stranding her crew and that it slowly weighed on her... but I feel like the change wasn't organic. It just didn't feel like it flowed. They were all still out there, having a high old time exploring with their ship in pristine condition.

It's funny because the Janeway that ended up occurring would have matched the ST: VOY that Jammer's wanted the show to be. But the show VOY ended up being does not really support the heavy change in Janeway. At least not to this viewer.

And yes, having her be the captain pulled the crew along for a ride I wasn't interested in going on. We've talked a lot though in the past about how dark Janeway got, especially with the line about how exploring isn't worth it. For a show that decided to take the route not followed and be a second TNG instead of whatever TV show that Ransom ended up on :), I just think this was a bad choice for the captain. Her arc doesn't match her story.
Elliott - Fri, Sep 26, 2014 - 4:20pm (USA Central)
"in a way is that not what the Federation wants from Bajor? To give them some treats (like industrial replicators) in exchange for giving the Federation their moral compass and authority?"

Mmmm, well, I'm sure that's what Eddington would say, but no I don't think so. The Federation defended Bajor and assisted in its recovery with no stipulations about Bajor having to change its identity. Now, of course it *hoped* that Bajor would join the Federation, but its help was not predicated on that hope. I got the impression (although it was not altogether clear) that this hope was connected to the fact the Federation's hands were tied during the Occupation by the Prime Directive, and Bajor's admittance would ensure that this wouldn't happen again).

Both your points about the Prophets' plan for Bajor and their standing idly by during the Occupation solidify the Bajorans' allegorisation of the Jews--enduring hardships in a process meant to lead to eventual salvation. Of course, that also shines a light on the masochistic nature of this type of branch of Abrahamic faith, assigning celestial "meaning" to horrible injustices in order fit them in with a benevolent divine plan [oh, yes it hurts when my husband beats me, but it's only because he needs me to learn a lesson so we can be happy later on]. In this respect, the best reading I can give to Kira (and by extension, all Bajorans) is that she is so traumatised by both the Occupation *and* the Prophets that there is little hope for her other than to consign her to wilful blindness: a tragic story indeed.
William B - Fri, Sep 26, 2014 - 4:27pm (USA Central)
@Elliott, point about the repetition. I had thought of that before mounting that paragraph defense.

There's an interesting series of essays on DS9 here: wrongquestions.blogspot.ca/2008/02/back-through-wormhole-table-of-contents. html. I don't really agree with all her conclusions, to say the least, but it's at least food for thought (and I think that I owe her a debt in the Bajorans/Vorta point, which I should have credited more). Anyway, the Kira essay actually argues something similar -- that after season one Kira's development stalls and repeats for quite some time. Really, I do think that there is a progression -- her attitude toward Ghemour in s3, for instance, is much different than I think it would have been at the beginning of "Duet"; I think there is a process of moving from recognizing the pretty genuine innocence of noncombattants to recognizing the value of forgiveness of people who really did strike against Bajor but who have repented ("Ties of Blood and Water") and finally to helping Damar et al. who are *still* basically unrepentant, with their own problem.

I mean, I think concentrated storytelling could have worked to have brought Kira to that point with Damar in season two -- but really, Damar killed Ziyal a year before, not even during the Cardassian Occupation. Damar is basically unrepentant in his belief in Cardassian superiority, and indeed his very rebellion is partly based on the false premise of Cardassian superiority rather than on the premise that Cardassians don't deserve to be dominated because no peoples do. I do think that "When it Rains"/"Tacking" missed an important trick by understating how loathsome it must still be for Kira to work with Damar -- because I am not all that convinced before his own family gets killed that Damar would have any particular regrets about gunning Ziyal down, nor about the Occupation. They make the same mistake with Garak and Damar. At any rate, the dedication to someone she genuinely has every reason to hate because even he has a right to be free is much harder than finding it possible to love a deeply penitent, basically innocent man who is trying to self-sacrifice to convince Cardassians of their wrongdoing.

Good rundown on the problem with the religion aspect, yes.

I'm also glad Robert mentioned the other big thing -- the Occupation. It's one thing to have a noninterfering God or Gods (who may in fact be purely symbolic) fail to step in during a decades-long rape and pillage of a planet; it's quite another for Gods who are willing to interfere only if a particular offworlder who turns out to be their own child makes the case to them. Similarly for Sisko, actually; it mostly benefits Sisko to be the Emissary, but the fact that the Prophets apparently set him up from birth to be their Emissary by possessing and discarding his mother and apparently not interfering when the Borg and Dominion nearly destroyed the Federation is, you know, also questionable.
Elliott - Fri, Sep 26, 2014 - 4:37pm (USA Central)
@Robert ;

You didn't find episodes like Night, Extreme Risk, Timeless, Infinite Regress, Nothing Human, Counterpoint, Latent Image, Dark Frontier, Course: Oblivion, Juggernaut, Equinox, Dragon's Teeth, Memorial, Unimatrix Zero, Flesh and Blood, The Void, Workforce, Friendship One and Endgame to showcase darkness of tone?

The "pristine-ness"-of-the-ship complaint never held much water with me. I mean the thing was brand new in the pilot and got a major overhaul about 6 years later ("Nightingale"). The fact that they vacuumed the carpets and put flowers on Janeway's side table never struck me as odd for a people whose technology lets them create food out of thin air.

I think worth noting is that with few exceptions, in the later seasons, Janeway didn't partake in the "fun" nearly as much as the rest of the crew--she isolated herself (Counterpoint, 11:59, Fair Haven, then basically the whole stretch from Flesh and Blood to Endgame).
Elliott - Fri, Sep 26, 2014 - 6:15pm (USA Central)
@William B.

Thanks for the link! I read through a couple of them--I can't say I agree with a lot of the conclusions so far, but I appreciated the depth of the analysis. I have read complaints similar to mine about Kira lobbed at Torres and 7of9, and don't agree with those either (well, mostly), so to be fair, I will remain open to the possibility that Kira actually does develop properly over the series during my re-watch reviews which I hope to start up again soon.
William B - Sun, Sep 28, 2014 - 12:57pm (USA Central)
@Elliott,

I find Nussbaum's analyses interesting and frustrating in equal measure. She is way too harsh on BSG, among other things, for instance...though I actually see her point on a few particular instances.

As far as Kira, I think the Torres or Seven comparison is useful, because I do think there's a similar sense of...the same fundamental issues being returned to again and again, but there are subtle changes in the form those fundamental issues take. I think that's a good strategy for character development, and it's the basic structure we get with (e.g.) Data too, though Data starts off more explicitly admirable than the others.
Robert - Mon, Sep 29, 2014 - 9:45am (USA Central)
"You didn't find episodes like Night, Extreme Risk, Timeless, Infinite Regress, Nothing Human, Counterpoint, Latent Image, Dark Frontier, Course: Oblivion, Juggernaut, Equinox, Dragon's Teeth, Memorial, Unimatrix Zero, Flesh and Blood, The Void, Workforce, Friendship One and Endgame to showcase darkness of tone? "

Of course there were dark episodes, but I only rarely got the feeling Janeway was beaten down by the world the way the DS9 crew were supposed to be by the war. Things like Flesh and Blood, Dark Frontier, and The Void (all among my favorites) showcased an optimistic Janeway. Not the Janeway from Night, Equinox and Friendship One.

For me the "Janeway Problem" is a lot like DS9's "The Sound of Her Voice". A serviceable episode in a bubble... but Sisko's problems with Kassidy and Miles/Julian's isolation all seemed to be really brought up at random. And then never addressed again. I felt that way about Janeway. She went totally emo in Night, then it popped up again in Equinox and then again in Friendship One through the end of the series.

If she wasn't participating in the fun because she was beating herself up about stranding them and all the people that died under her command instead of that she was the captain (Picard skipped a lot of "the fun" too)... I just wish they had been more explicit. In a lot of ways her arc (and characterization) feels yo-yo like.

Again though, I'd like to point out that I'm not faulting Mulgrew. She sure as held sold every single one of those emotions in Equinox, even if I didn't care for the characterization.
Robert - Mon, Sep 29, 2014 - 10:02am (USA Central)
As for fundamental issues being returned too....

I pretty much disagree with Kira's character being re-hashed. We DID keep going back to basics with her, but I feel like each time she was different and she learned something NEW from it.

One thing I DID like about Kira working with Damar was that for her, I didn't feel like she was out to reform him (at first). She'd have to TRULY hate him to say what she did after his family was killed. And she didn't even do it for a good reason, it was Garak that pointed out to her that it might do some good... she had just shot her mouth off. Her hostility was right beneath the surface.

It wasn't until the were all beaten, stripped away of everything, living in a basement with all their comrades killed that I think she finally saw what Damar COULD be. And THEN she thought about trying to shape him into it. I think she does some of her best acting of the entire show (and so does he) as their 2 characters subtlety change over 10 episodes.

But even little things about Kira change a lot over 7 years. The woman who felt stupid about wearing the costumes in "Way of the Warrior" still felt silly in a holosuite in "His Way" but much less so (and was playing along in S7 in "Take Me Out..." and "Badda Bing...") Her relationship with Sisko, Bashir, O'Brien, Dax they all subtlety change over 7 years. It's really nicely done when you look at it.

But Torres? She just never seems to learn from her uneasiness with her Klingon past. It just always seems to come back to bite her. She never totally makes peace with it.

Submit a comment

Above, type the last name of the captain on Star Trek: TNG
Notify me about new comments on this page
Hide my e-mail on my post

Season Index

Copyright © 1994-2014, Jamahl Epsicokhan. All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction or distribution of any review or article on this site is prohibited. Star Trek (in all its myriad forms), Battlestar Galactica, and Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda are trademarks of CBS Studios Inc., NBC Universal, and Tribune Entertainment, respectively. This site is in no way affiliated with or authorized by any of those companies. | Copyright & Disclaimer