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Boaty McBoatface
Sun, Sep 8, 2019, 11:26am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S6: Valiant

I also think they missed an important opportunity to connect with the events of paradise lost/homefront arc. As other people here have pointed out they even brought the character from Red Squad who ratted out their participation in Admiral Leyton's false flag plot, so it seems like the writers and casting team consciously planned to incorporate this into the story but failed to ultimately deliver it in the script. It would have been great to have Jake say to Nog "Hey, remember that time Red Squad was instrumental in bringing down the power grid on earth? They are fanatical to the point where they don't think and you shouldn't trust them..." I think this would have been effective and made sense especially since both Jake and Nog were present on Earth when that storyline unfolded.
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Boaty McBoatface
Sun, Sep 8, 2019, 9:52am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S6: Valiant

I thought some elements of the story were really clunky and didn't work well. For instance, early in the story you see all the crew wearing phasers. I get that they are trapped behind enemy lines, but they are also trying to emulate Starfleet officers. It may be military tradition to carry sidearms in the world today, but Starfleet is an organization that has a storied reputation for scientific discovery and significant aspirational goals of achieving peaceful unity. Starfleet officers rarely walk around armed outside of security type roles or specific mission requirements. It also is shown right when the conflict between Jake and Waters is beginning so you say to yourself "Oh I see what the writers are doing, they are going to pull phasers on Jake or Nog or both at some point in this episode". Beyond that, if they are going to bother strapping phasers, wouldn't they take the time to strap tricorders as well? Weren't they experiencing pretty serious technical issues with this ship that caused them to be stranded behind enemy lines in the first place? Speaking of those issues, does it seem realistic that leadership would leave the engineer to manage the warp speed crisis for months with literally no sign of progress without providing additional support or micromanaging the problem or at least trying to look into what the hell is taking so long? And for all the Captain's talk of "rising to the occasion" his pick for chief engineer sure seems willing to defer to Nog at the first opportunity without any objections or questions about Nog's plan or attempt to preserve his own position or even to defend his own work. His "to hell with it I suck at this job anyway" attitude rings really hollow and works against the ambition that the writers are trying to imbue in these characters. All of these elements detract from the story itself, and the performance of the First Officer and to a lesser extent the operations officer seem stilted and serve to undermine the otherwise excellent performances by the Captain and Chief Petty Officer.
That said, the episode is most successful where it explores contrast. For instance, after Valiant goes boom there is a scene where the camera focuses on the Defiant bridge. You see an unnamed Lt at the helm and he exudes this aura of calm, professional competence that can only be achieved through experience. I really liked this scene because it effectively spells out the deficits with Valiant's crew whilst telegraphing the tragedy that these otherwise talented people were robbed of the opportunity to realize their aspirations through their missteps and inexperience (with the exception of the CPO who survives).
I think most of the criticisms mentioned on this forum have merit but have been overstated, and for all its flaws this is still a good episode, especially considering the level of controversy and dialogue that it produced here decades after being dropped on the air.

@springy

I thought your comments about Jadzia's experience versus Valiant's crew were spot on.
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