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Sat, Jan 3, 2015, 12:25am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S1: The Storyteller

The Storyteller: B-

I’m going to tackle this episode one storyline at a time.

First, the A-plot. On the one hand, we had grumpy, flustered O’Brien for most of the episode which was a lot of fun. I think that this was one of the first times Bashir has worked somewhat well for me; he’s an excruciatingly irritating nit, but “The Storyteller” was able to get a few good comedic beats out of his and O’Brien’s relationship – I like how smug the doctor was about O’Brien’s predicament.

On the other hand, the main plot didn’t work for me at all (other than maybe O’Brien’s humorously botched telling of the story near the end). It involved A) metaphysical mumbo jumbo B) mass stupidity on the part of the villagers and C) investment in a last-minute and very unsympathetic character (who tried to kill O’Brien – Chief is all “It’s okay bro, I’mma help you anyway”). I’m very confused by Bajor’s level of technological sophistication: They’re clearly space-capable and have regular interactions with the Federation, but the planet is obviously still populated by idiot villages who are governed by goofy local legends.

HOWEVER. I enjoyed the material on DS9 a lot! The Tetrarch wasn’t necessarily played by a very good young actress, but Jake/Nog continues to be enjoyable, and I enjoy that Nog was able to display his own special brand of wisdom. Most interesting of all is what’s revealed about their relationships with their respective fathers: Jake and Ben’s is warm and nurturing, Nog and Rom’s is…not. Sisko was good with the young lady here.

Good character interactions (largely), bad plotting. Par for the course so far.

The Good:
- Return of the Odo-smile!

The Bad:
- Sisko and Kira exchange an obvious surprised glance when they learn how young the Tetrarch is – pretty bad diplomacy right off the bat, it seems to me.
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Fri, Dec 19, 2014, 10:30pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S1: Vortex

Vortex: B+
This was a much stronger episode than the previous Odo-centric outing, and definitely one of my favorites so far. Rene Auberjonois is just so good that even the goofier aspects of this one aren’t particularly notable. It helps that Croden is one of the most compelling guest stars we’ve seen so far, and that nearly every interaction he has with Odo makes for an interesting dynamic. “Odo’s origins” hadn’t been something I was hyper-concerned with before this point despite a few past references, but this episode made me believe that the storyline is potentially pretty fascinating.

The Good:
- I like that the wormhole is getting a bit more play.
- Again, everything Odo. The straight-talking, humorless and gruff security chief must trade words with a man whose passion seems to be dissembling wordplay. I like how Auberjonois plays his restraint; you can tell there’s a part of Odo that would like nothing more than to follow Croden to the changeling enclave, but he never wavers in his duty. But his form of justice is tempered with honor and even a certain amount of benevolence, as we see from his later interactions with Croden and the girl (that smile!). While actually speaking to the crystal at the end was a bit of a stretch, I like the notion that it’s Odo’s cousin of sorts, and I hope it will make return appearances in future episodes dealing with Odo’s longing for a home.
- Speaking of that: I find it really interesting that Odo is both completely confident in his place on DS9 and extremely drawn to the notion of finding more changelings.
- Croden is an excellent character. Half of what he says is false and he manipulates Odo easily, but ends up being a sympathetic character possessed of basic decency despite all that. He’s morally grey and very ambiguous, and thus a type of character that the show has had luck with before (I’m thinking Garak and Kira’s old comrade from “Past Prologue”).

The Mixed:
- Quark and Odo were fine in this episode, (“I’m the man behind the bar!”) but I actually think Quark has been slightly overused now at the expense of some other characters. I mean, he was only significant in the early portion of this one, but the last two episodes were pretty Quark-centric and we haven’t seen much of anyone else recently. I do like how the show always stops short of making him completely amoral (notice that he doesn’t really embrace the idea of Ah-Kel killing Odo). Unlike Rom, who’s…kind of murder happy isn’t he? There’s something a little disturbing about that guy because he lacks both Quark’s cleverness and his humanity.

The Bad:
- The Miradorn are interesting in theory, but this wasn’t the right episode for them. Didn’t have time to flesh out the twins-concept, and so Ah-Kel becomes just another bad guy.
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Thu, Dec 4, 2014, 9:38pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S1: The Nagus

The Nagus: B-

This episode was about as good as it could have been considering the subject matter, as the Ferengi are, I think, inherently hard to take seriously. It’s definitely a lightweight affair, but far less muddled than the previous episode.

The Good:
- I really enjoyed the Jake/Nog subplot. It tackles the difficult subject of what happens when species with different core values are gathered in one place. Is it fair to hold Nog to the same standard of “ethics”, for example, as his human classmates considering that the concept of ethics may be a distinctly human one? Jake and Nog’s friendship is a bit saccharine, but both characters (and Sisko Sr.) show a deal of maturity in their handling of the situation.
- Wallace Shawn!
- The Rom we see in this episode is quite different than the one from “A Man Alone,” but I found the character kind of interesting, especially the way he channels Quark’s anger toward him into his son. And he returned the woman’s purse in the beginning, which points to him having a slightly different standard of greed than most Ferengi. It seems his decision to flush Quark at the end was inspired more by feelings of disrespect than of greed, though it strains credibility that Quark would forgive him so quickly (even considering the Sixth Rule of Acquisition).
- Dax has been a parent five times! Interesting.
- Fun to watch Quark go from nervous to arrogant to desperate, though I’m not sure if we needed another episode of Quark’s begging so soon after the last.

Noting overtly negative about this one. It interested me less than some of the other episodes, but it was a solid if trifling entry to the season.
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Thu, Dec 4, 2014, 5:57pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S1: Move Along Home

Move Along Home: C-
This is a surpassingly stupid episode, but I get the feeling that the people making it kind of knew that. Four of our leads play hopscotch for Christ’s sake! Obviously, the game makes absolutely no sense on a technological or metaphysical level, but I appreciate, as Jammer does, that they don’t try to explain any of it with technobabble. But the scenes in the game are mostly just kind of boring, and the repeated exclamations to “move along home” get quite old very quickly. We learn nothing new about any of the characters, and a token attempt to develop Quark fails due to the ultimately inconsequential nature of the game. As I said, however, there’s something slightly self-aware about “Move Along Home”: from Sisko lamenting the goofiness of their first visitors from the Gamma Quadrant, to Bashir forgetting his basically-identical dress uniform, to Quark’s fascination with a game that is apparently completely random and never actually explained to him. Not a good episode, but I don’t have the complete scorn for it that others seem to.

The Good:
- Unless stated otherwise, just assume Odo is a positive component of any episode.
- Hey, Primmin! Is he going to keep showing up? I’d be fine with that.
- I really liked the Sisko-Jake scenes. We haven’t seen much of Junior, but I’m glad his relationship with his dad is largely positive.
- I liked Dax asking the others to leave her behind. I continue to enjoy the Sisko/Dax relationship, and I think it’s interesting how Dax continually tries to hurt Sisko’s feelings in order to get him to stop looking after her.

The Bad:
- It is slightly disappointing that they wasted their first diplomatic meeting with Gamma visitors on the jolly gamblers. In general, the show hasn’t been exceptional at following up on interesting parts of the pilot: the Gamma Quadrant, the wormhole aliens, the Cardassians, Bajoran religion and Sisko’s role in that theology, and Bajoran-Federation relations have hardly been addressed at all.
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Thu, Dec 4, 2014, 2:33pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S1: The Passenger

You know, bumping this one down to D+.
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Wed, Dec 3, 2014, 7:13pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S1: The Passenger

The Passenger: C-
This one…wasn’t very good. The plot gets lost in nonsensical technobabble, and though I take it this was supposed to be the first Bashir-centric episode, it provided very little insight into that character. I’ll admit, I only saw the plot twist coming a few minutes before it was revealed, but maybe that’s because I was preoccupied with the goofiness of the conscience-transfer. There’s not much in this one I’ll take with me.

The Good:
- I liked Odo in this episode. The Odo/Primmin subplot, while not mind-blowing, was a nice little reminder that DS9 is a jointly-run operation, and while the ending (aww, they’re starting to see value in one another) is very clichéd, I’m kind of hoping to see more of Primmin.
- By extension, I liked Sisko quite a bit here, especially his defense of Odo, although he was perhaps a trifle harsh toward Primmin.

The Mixed:
- I like that the episode opens en route back to DS9 – it’s a nice reminder that these people do more than just stand around at Command – but I wish the situation that Bashir and Kira had just finished dealing with had been better explained.

The Bad:
- So, where is O’Brien?
- Siddig is…pretty bad as possessed Bashir. Very hammy.
- Odo and Quark’s scene in this episode was their first that felt a bit repetitive. I get it, Quark is up to no good and Odo is onto him, while also being skeptical of human (er, Ferengi) emotions.
- Moments of action, like when Bashir and Kira transport onto Kajada’s ship or when Vantika and his thugs take over the transport ship, are still pretty poorly staged.
- I’m skeptical that Quark wouldn’t face any consequences for conspiring with a maniac and seriously endangering the station.
- The ending. Bashir is okay, everyone laughs, fade to black. A more mature show might have felt comfortable exploring Bashir’s psyche after sharing his brain with another. In general, I wish the doctor had more agency in this episode – perhaps he could have fought back against Vantika’s intrusion.
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Sat, Nov 29, 2014, 12:53pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S1: Dax

Dax: B
This is a good episode marred by a number of logical flaws. As an expose on Trill society, an exploration of Sisko and Dax’s relationship, and even as a courtroom drama, it works well, and scattered throughout are a number of powerful scenes. But the titular character remains almost toneless throughout the hour, which dampens the level of emotion at play.

The Good:
- Odo blackmailing Quark.
- Sisko and Kira make a pretty great team, actually. The scene where they establish the illegality of extradition on Bajoran DS9 is fun.
- I do like how devoted Sisko is to Dax. He comes very close to asking Kira and Bashir to falsify evidence in order to support his friend, which may not be admirable, but it’s an interesting character choice. Avery Brooks shows a pulse in this episode, and once again, righteous Sisko is, to me, entertaining Sisko.
- It’s completely in character for Odo to be skeptical of Dax after hearing the charges, though.
- Bashir punches both Tandro and, kind of, himself.
- The arbiter is an awesome character, wooden sphere gavel and all. She gets many of this episode’s best lines.

The Mixed:
- The gist of the Trill discussion re: culpability for previous hosts’ actions is interesting, and I think Sisko makes very good points when defending Jadzia’s innocence. But I’m still waiting for an explanation as to why the Trill (both Dax, and, in this episode, the Trill ambassador Peers) act so mannered and distant. Curzon, apparently, was not like that. I have some theories, however.
- So DS9 operates under Bajoran law, Federation law, or basically whichever one suits Sisko/Kira best at the moment? I’m not complaining too much, this only serves to make the show more ~morally ambiguous~.

The Bad:
- The Sisko voiceover that explains why O’Brien isn’t in this episode is almost comically sloppy.
- They were supposed to be having an extradition hearing to determine the legality of extraditing Dax to Tandro’s homeworld, right? Characters keep insisting that this is the case, yet it ultimately ends up being a trial about A) Trill responsibility for their hosts’ actions and the line between symbionts and their carriers and B) the actual case of Tandro Sr.’s murder. The first I can kind of understand, but the second should not have been addressed at all, which makes Odo’s investigation and eventual revelation of the truth come off as a sort of deus ex machina. Sisko, I suppose, was grasping at straws when he asked Odo to start digging around on Klaesron, but the episode didn’t do itself any favors by making a distinction between hearing and trial and then basically putting Dax on trial. In other words, the goal of the proceedings at Quark’s bar was kind of confusing. Call a trial a trial.
- The rest of the cast – Sisko, Kira, Bashir, Odo – rise to the occasion in her defense; Dax rises but little. In fact, she’s a bit of a cypher throughout. She (well, he) fell in love with another man’s wife (never mind that the man was a cowardly traitor who betrayed his own people) and feels guilty; we’ve established in previous episodes that Trill believe themselves to be somewhat above such emotions as lust and love. I can buy that she can’t reveal where she was during the transmission, or the true fate of Tandro Sr. But the episode almost seemed to imply that Jadzia Dax has a death wish (until Enina inspires her to keep on living during their final scene) which doesn’t quite track. And besides which: Couldn’t Dax have been a bit more convivial with her defenders? She makes the argument to Sisko that Jadzia and Curzon are different people in a bid to get him to leave her alone; this is exactly the sort of argument her “defense” might have used. I don’t know – Farrell smiles cryptically throughout the episode, but I never got a good enough feel for what Dax was thinking.
- Wouldn’t the fact that Curzon and Enina were sleeping together actually provide motivation to him killing Tandro? We, the audience, only know that Dax is innocent because of the private scene at the end, but you’d think the arbiter and Tandro Jr. might ask additional questions after the affair became public.
- Didn’t the folks from Klaesron engage in kidnapping, tampering, conspiracy, and various other acts that might get them in hot water on Bajoran DS9? Yet they were still allowed to have their hearing and presumably, go on their way.

Surprisingly, though, I actually liked this episode, despite the length of my “cons” section. The premise might be DS9’s best yet, and if the writers didn’t quite land the delivery, well, the show is still young. “Dax” touches on some of the themes from earlier in the season – living with one’s own actions, the past affecting the present – and makes audience members question one of the regular characters in a way that some might find uncomfortable (I thought at the beginning that Curzon might have been guilty), which is always a good thing in my book. But the message we end up getting is muddled. Why is Dax so passive, when speaking in her own defense wouldn’t require betraying either Enina or the general’s legacy? Is she unwilling to publicly express that Jadzia and Curzon Dax are basically different entities? That can’t be it, as she willingly answers Sisko’s questions about her accomplishments before becoming joined with the symbiont. Hmm. Perhaps one of the reasons I like this episode is because it’s thought-provoking, even if some of that provocation comes from an unclear script. I can envision a slightly more interesting version of the episode where Curzon did kill Tandro, but for sympathetic reasons relating to the wife. A guilty Dax must make the case that Curzon is dead. Sisko would be doubly hurt by learning that his friend was a killer (although, again, a sympathetic one) and by hearing Dax say that she is not the same person Sisko knew years before, but he’d stick by his old friend anyway. In any case, this is just fanfiction.
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Mon, Nov 24, 2014, 8:49pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S1: Q-Less

Q-Less: C+
This is a perfectly charming episode in a lot of ways, including the enjoyable performances from John de Lancie and Jennifer Hetrick. It’s also a perfectly filler episode, especially for someone like me, who has never seen TNG and thus has no reason to care about Vash or Q. This early in a series’ run, it may have been a mistake to center an episode so heavily on guest stars, since it left our regular cast (i.e. the people we’ll be spending the next 170 episodes with) somewhat marginalized. Still, this was inoffensive. While an episode like “Babel” (which I scored the same) had more of interest to me, its sticking points were more extreme.

The Good:
- Angry Sisko might be best Sisko. Avery Brooks is still very stiff, but I like that he has qualities which differentiate him from Picard; he’s willing to be a bit rougher and a bit less diplomatic. For that reason, the boxing scene, while undeniably goofy, was kind of fun for me.
- Q and Vash did have some good moments, although I stand by not really caring about either one of them.

The Bad:
- It must be said: this episode was ridiculously full of technobabble. Probably the worst yet. I understand that it’s sci-fi and certain plot points have to occur, but I hope the writers realize eventually that hearing all that stuff is boring.
- Another episode where everyone on the station almost dies. Again, I understand the need for drama, but there’s a certain laziness to it.
- I liked the brief Odo/Quark scene, but it seems a little out of character that Odo would be at all tempted by the bucket.
- Eh, horny Bashir isn’t terrible but there are other aspects of that character I’d rather be explored first.
- Um. Giant…space…stingray? K.
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Sun, Nov 23, 2014, 11:06am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S1: Captive Pursuit

Captive Pursuit: B
(Switching things up a bit, summation first and then pros and cons.)

Now, this one, I like. We see DS9 reverse the typical Trek motto of going where no man has gone before; now, Deep Space 9 is where no Tosk has gone before. This episode features extremely strong work from Colm Meaney, and though the plot is nothing new, almost everything worked. Very watchable.

The Good:
- Aha! Finally some information about the state of wormhole travelers.
- Nice to see Sisko playing diplomat at the beginning. In fact, I liked him throughout the episode – his anger at Tosk being hunted was righteous. Brooks is definitely improving, and I thought the character’s response to O’Brien’s transgression was very telling.
- Quark is not a barkeep.
- Really, the friendship between O’Brien and Tosk was well done. Miles is a fantastic everyman. We’ve all seen characters like Tosk before, but there’s something very affecting about the way he says “O-Brien.” And our chief becomes Tosk for a day!
- I think the negotiations about what to do with Tosk make sense. Hunting one of your fellows seems utterly barbaric – but that’s only by *our* standards, and the episode is very clear to not disparage the villainous hunters entirely. I’m glad Sisko doesn’t try to impose cultural hegemony on beings from the gamma quadrant. I’m also glad that we hear about people at Starfleet Command that are watching the station and any new life-forms it might encounter with interest.

The Bad:
- The hunters, unfortunately, were rather silly, and the phaser battle was even worse.

Trying to cut back on some of the fluff in these little reviews and just share my most salient thoughts.
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Sat, Nov 22, 2014, 12:10pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S1: Babel

To put a finer point on my first "bad": There are basically two issues. One is that the show began forcing a darker tone when the aphasia was still in its infancy and rather silly, which created some tonal issues. But a whole space station being affected by a disease which completely limits one's ability to communicate could actually be a pretty major issue, especially once people start collapsing from deadly fever. But "Babel", as others seem to have said, never makes the race-against-time very compelling, nor does it convey the true horror of having the station besieged by sickness. That's what I mean by the show not having the gravitas to do this story yet.
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Sat, Nov 22, 2014, 3:07am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S1: Babel

Babel: C+
- “Strike limits flame the dark true salt!” Colm Meaney has fun with those nonsense sentences.
- Quark is pretty great in this episode. His scene in the sickbay is a highlight.
- Odo’s defensiveness – “before I came aboard.”
- I like the Kira/Dax scene. I’m waiting for the first Dax-heavy episode to make final judgments about Farrell, but she’s not bad in small scenes, and the character is conceptually interesting. Sexuality must be a complicated issue for the Trill, what with all the past lives bearing down on the current one. This was touched on a bit in “A Man Alone”, and I like how Dax can’t quite resist male attention in this one.
- I like Odo being recruited to the bridge crew in the absence of anyone else.
- Avery Brooks is still pretty bad, but I did like the moments between Ben and Jake.
- I choose to suspend disbelief and pretend that Kira was reprimanded offscreen for kidnapping a doctor, but that was pretty cool.

- This episode worked really well when it dealt with the light-hearted aphasia stuff, but as the virus spiraled out of control and the tone became more urgent, “Babel” slackened. I’m not sure the show has earned the gravitas yet to tell a compelling medical thriller; the episode might have been on the whole more successful had they stuck with lighthearted filler. The show takes on a darker tone, but can’t fully commit to it. No deaths from the virus? I know it’s network television in the nineties, but come on.
- Characters were affected by the virus in exactly the right order for plot convenience.
- It seems to me that Kira was too quickly able to identify and locate the virus’s creator. Too easy.
- No fallout for Quark (unintentionally) endangering everyone on DS9.
- Not a single member of O’Brien’s staff can deal with the sorts of maintenance issues he was being called upon to fix early in the episode?
- Insta-solution.

I actually liked this episode quite a bit more than the last – it was good fun at a number of different points – but there wasn’t much depth here.
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Fri, Nov 21, 2014, 12:32pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S1: Past Prologue

@Robert - I kind of suspected as much. Understandable on DS9's part, but unlike the Picard appearance in 'Emissary", the sisters didn't add much for me. And they're just so goofy.
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Fri, Nov 21, 2014, 12:30pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S1: Emissary

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Fri, Nov 21, 2014, 12:28pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S1: A Man Alone

A Man Alone: C-
The Good:
- Some nice continuity: We know from “Emissary” that DS9 seems to operate mostly under Bajoran law, which would explain why Odo can’t arrest Ibundan, since he’s already been freed on Bajor.
- The domestic stuff between the O’Briens is cool. Keiko isn’t played by the greatest actress in the galaxy, but it was a sweet subplot. Working Quark’s brother was amusing.
- Rene Auberjonois is probably the best actor on the show. Even with a relatively weak script like this one, he makes Odo’s most interesting qualities palpable. Here we see the character’s rigid notion of justice, his loneliness, his sense of purposelessness should he lose his position aboard DS9. Odo is not very nice, which helps to explain why he was an easy scapegoat. Also, he regenerates in a pail.
- Quark and Odo are a fun pairing, and I liked their later scene as well. But having Quark explicitly defend Odo to the Bajorans felt a little out of character from what little I know of Quark at this point.

The Mixed:
- Not a flaw of this episode in particular, but I’m beginning to wonder when we’ll hear more information about the Gamma Quadrant. Who lives there? Are there ships passing through the wormhole from that direction? Has trade commenced?
- I’m liking the Sisko-Dax friendship, but these two performances are still the stiffest of the lot. I do want to know more about the life cycle of the Trill, however.
- Jake and Nog’s shenanigans. I know enough about Trek to know how poorly Wesley Crusher was received on TNG, so I’m actually pretty interested in what this show will do with Jake. Since he doesn’t have the same poor reputation as Wesley, presumably they either get things right (in terms of writing for a kid) or he remains a minor character. In any case, I’m glad he has a friend, but the scene where Keiko proposes the school and Sisko confronts Jake ends awkwardly, with Sisko kind of…lurching?...out of the shot.

The Bad:
- Not a fan of the teaser or the subsequent scenes between those two characters. Love-struck Bashir isn’t too interesting yet, and Terry Farrell is still finding her way with Dax. The bubble game irritated me; did you get that it’s from the FUTURE?
- So Bashir is a forensics expert as well? I guess in the future all doctors are omnidisciplinary.
- I don’t like how anyone can access information via computer. For example, when Odo examines Ibundan’s room, he is immediately able to see the murdered man’s personal itinerary. Important, perhaps, to the investigation of his death, but there seems to be poor information control aboard these ships.
- Sisko tells the mob he won’t comply with their demands to remove Odo from office, and then immediately complies with their demands to remove Odo from office. It’s not so much that his reason for doing so doesn’t make sense, he was just inconsistent.
- The whole mob sequence fell pretty flat to me. It makes the civilians aboard DS9 appear medieval that in the span of a few days they are bloodthirsty enough to execute a man only suspected of murder, and the scene had little dramatic tension. People shouting ‘shifter’ and ‘freak’ is more humorous than threatening. I can understand some resentment toward Odo for enforcing Cardassian rule, and it’s certainly a point I want explored, but that was never really brought up during the mob scene. Odo’s isolation among the stations’ denizens is probably a fruitful topic, just not in this episode.
- Bashir figuring out the clone thing and Odo’s final confrontation with Ibundan were rushed and infused with a little too much technobabble for a Trek novice like me. Ibundan is reduced to a very thin antagonist, whose only motivation is revenge on Odo.

Certainly the weakest episode so far, and a poor first outing for Odo. There were some nice beats, but mostly the story felt lazy. However, I suspect that there are worse DS9 episodes to come, just as I suspect that “Emissary” and “Past Prologue” are not the show at its best.
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Fri, Nov 21, 2014, 1:33am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S1: Past Prologue

Past Prologue: B+
The Good:
- Garak is excellent, and I already know that we’ll be seeing more of him. He’s a wonderfully quirky character, and as morally ambiguous as the rest of this episode. I do wonder why he approached Bashir of all people (other than the fact that Bashir is a regular). Perhaps he sees that Bashir is full of enough self-importance to be easily manipulated.
- I’m liking Bashir, though he’s almost too bumbling at points – unlike “Emissary”, this episode didn’t showcase his medical skills to balance out the naïve fluttering. But that first scene with Garak was funny, as was the follow-up where he tries to convince the bridge crew to wire him.
- Odo. His nostalgia for the simpler days under Cardassian occupation, his inability to fake pretense, his basically straightforward way of handling Kira’s indecision – this is a character I’m growing more and more interested in.
- And speaking of Kira, this was a great episode for her. The conversations with Sisko, Tahna, and Odo reveal a certain degree of guilt about working with the provincial government of Bajor and the Federation, but I like the argument she makes about still fighting for her people, just in a new way.
- The whole plot really fit together rather neatly. Tahna is manipulating Kira while working with the Klingons, who are planning on betraying him to the Cardassians. Garak, somewhat fascinatingly, plays both sides of the fence by roping in Bashir, which allows Sisko to apprehend Tahna instead of the Cardassians. Sisko and Odo test Kira, who decides to betray Tahna. I enjoyed guessing who would end up playing who.
- Thematically rich episode, dealing with the delineation between warfare and terrorism, past and present, duty (to one thing) and duty (to another). Going back to “Emissary”, I might argue that Kira’s decisions in this episode validate some of the stuff Sisko says about pursuing the unknown based on our culminated experiences; she knows that the actions of the Kohn-Ma are no longer viable so she chooses to go with the Federation.

The Mixed:
- Tahna is pretty good in the earlier parts of the episode, and I like the ways in which he tests Kira. Even his eventual goal of destroying the wormhole is understandable. But it was probably a mistake on the writers’ part to let him start slapping Kira around; that very quickly burned away my sympathy for him and eliminated some of the episode’s moral ambiguity.
- Avery Brooks was better in this episode, although he was given less to do. I’m enjoying Sisko’s relationships with Kira, Odo, and Bashir, but Brooks is just so stiff, physically, in certain scenes, and some of his deliveries are quite wooden.

The Bad:
- The Klingon sisters were pretty goofy and awful, though functional within the plot.
- The chase sequence at the end was weak, and poorly edited to boot. I was confused as to what was happening at the end in regards to the wormhole and the bomb.
- Little follow-up to certain aspects of the pilot, especially the religious ones.
- Jake and Quark were no-shows this week, while Dax and O’Brien were given little to do. This is certainly understandable given the show’s large cast, but it’s still disappointing.
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Thu, Nov 20, 2014, 11:09pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S1: Emissary

Hey all. Not much of a Star Trek fan, but people have been telling me DS9 is up my alley for years, so I've decided to finally give it a go. I thought I'd post some thoughts and a grade for each episode as I go along, since this seems to be a good site for that. Remember, I haven't really seen much other Trek (watched a few TNG episodes and it didn't do much for me), though I have a layman's knowledge of the universe and its characters. Hopefully I'll still be able to enjoy DS9: I'm a sci-fi fan generally, and the serialization and character focus that I've heard this show possesses appeals to me.

These are just my opinions. I'll do bullet points, good, mixed, and bad, although I'm sure some will get lengthy. I won't hold the special effects against the show, as I understand that it's from the early nineties :)

Without further ado,

Emissary: B+
The Good:
- Strong introduction to most characters; the ensemble seems diverse and interesting enough to handle many different stories. Standouts include Kira, Odo, and Dax.
- The political situation vis-à-vis Bajor and the Cardassians is immediately compelling, especially as embodied by Dukat. More broadly, the premise of the show has lots of things going for it: Religion, wormhole gods, post-occupation governance, etc. As a Trek virgin, if the religious aspects of this show go against things established in other Treks, it probably won’t really bother me as long as it’s interesting, since I have no frame of reference.
- Much of what occurs between Sisko and the Prophets is interesting; particularly their childlike innocence as to the nature of linear human progression.
- “Domestic inquiry” – some cuteness between Sisko and his wife.
- Kira commanding DS9 against the Cardassians.
- O’Brien and the computer. They’ll have to have a talk.
- Sisko and Dax; nonromantic friendships between male and female (kinda?) characters are cool.
- Kira and Bashir, where the good doctor basically calls the Bajorans provincial – one of the great things about ensemble shows is to see how different characters work when paired together.
The Mixed:
- Ben Sisko. There are many times in the episode where Avery Brooks’s acting is less than ideal; he often seems overly mannered in a way that Patrick Stewart – who himself plays an intentionally mannered character very naturally – does not. The prologue was much less affecting than it could have been because of this. A few bizarre moments, especially his little yelp on the beach with Jennifer. Yet there are moments where he transcends, particularly during his talk with the Prophets. I enjoy that he is neither overly brooding nor particularly bitter; rather, he is a good man thrust into a situation he would rather not be in (commanding DS9), and then another (being the titular Emissary).
I was surprised that his arc of overcoming Jennifer’s death was seemingly resolved so quickly, but his final scenes in the wormhole were effective, where he comes to grips with his halted existence, were effective. Also good: His scenes with Picard and Quark, the latter of which shows the character’s pragmatism. Both scenes with Picard worked for me: Sisko’s imprudent anger, Picard’s disgust, and their accord at the end.
I do wish the episode had featured more of his response to being told by the Opaka that he is essentially destined to become the savior of the Bajorans – a people he is not at all acquainted with – via finding the orbs and their holy realm.
- Which leads me to my next point. Bajoran theology is interesting if not jaw-dropping, and I suspect there is more to these eight Orbs than is explained in this episode, but all the information that has been conveyed so far seems a bit rushed, especially because the discovery of the wormhole beings would presumably be an incredible theological milestone for the Bajorans. Also underdeveloped: the Cardassians’ reasons for wanting to make contact with the Bajoran Prophets. Hopefully these things are explored more fully in future installments; follow up is good!

The Bad:
- A lot of pretty boring technobabble, but I knew this was coming.
- That scene where Sisko and Dax experience different realities on the wormhole-god-planet is pretty painful; Avery Brooks is further brought down by bad dialogue and the attempt at humor is lame.
- The Cardassian commander (not Dukat, the other one) is extremely overacted.
- Jennifer is okay when she is a manifestation of the Prophets, but the actress is as stilted as Avery Brooks during his vision of the beach.
- Probably the Sisko-wormhole alien segment drags on longer than was necessary.

In short, some excellent world-building and character introductions, and the initiation of themes that I hope the show continues to explore (I especially like Sisko’s assertion that the crux of human existence is the unknown). Brought down a bit by under-explained aspects of the show’s universe and some mediocre acting on the part of guest stars and, unfortunately, the lead.
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