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Wed, Jan 30, 2013, 1:22pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: DS9 S3: Heart of Stone

I have to wholeheartedly disagree with Jammer. Both the A and B storylines in "Heart of Stone" are well-done.

*Storyline A - Kira & Odo*
You have to remember that, up to this point, the viewer has only seen the Founders once (in 'The Search II'). The viewer has also not yet watched the Kira/Odo saga unfold, so naturally, those more poignant episodes will later take precedence over "Heart of Stone." My sense is that most "critics" of this episode are judging it retrospectively after having seen the entire saga unfold. Let me further explain.

The original intent of this episode, back in 1995, was to give the Female Changling another level of creepiness. It continues to emphasize the Dominion's ability to infiltrate and manipulate the mental psyche of our DS9 heroes (much like in 'The Search II') -- this gives the Dominion yet another tactical advantage BEYOND their immense firepower.

Similarly, up to this point, we've seen strong hints about Odo having feelings for Kira. But he's never *poured* out his emotions like he did in these caves. Credit must be given to Rene Auberjonois; his delivery of "Odo Ital" and professing his love for Kira while slowly falling to the ground was extremely moving.

Critics of this episode tend to also forget that Odo is still at the beginning stages of his self-discovering journey; he is deeply exploring emotions about romance (presumably for the first time), and to have them clash with his newly discovered familial Changling roots must be extremely disheartening (no pun intended).

*Storyline B - Nog*
I hadn't seen "Heart of Stone" in at least a decade. However, after rewatching it last night, it was plesant to rediscover that this episode marks the beginning to Nog's own journey into Starfleet.

The comment from "Sam" above was also poignant; the Nog story was to also show that Sisko is open-minded about structure beyond Starfleet guidelines. Frankly, such an attribute is admirable in any leader - e.g. a company C.E.O. or a parent in a household. Without this open-mindedness, Nog's character growth would have been stunted.

On a side note, my girlfriend (who's seeing DS9 for the first time) mentioned how crazy it is to be observe Jake and Nog's characters both grow up -- not only physically but also emotionally. It's nice to see this type of character development take shape in DS9, even with its "ancillary" characters.

My rating: 3.5 out of 4
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Tue, Jan 29, 2013, 11:29am (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: DS9 S3: Life Support

I have to agree that "Life Support" was poorly executed. It's reminiscent of Season 2 episodes, where the A and B plots don't intertwine well.

All of the events in "Life Support" had potential to be much more powerful. Yet, the lack of direction made it seem as if the writers were trying to do too much in a span of 45 minutes, and ultimately, they failed to accomplish most of their goals.

#1. The Cardassian and Bajoran peace treaty negotiations should have been a HUGE storyline, and at the very least, treated as if it were a standalone episode with no B-plot. Sh!t, it's one of the major DS9 story arcs thus far.

If budget were a concern, it could have been a dialogue-heavy, bottle episode. Yet, somehow, this historical event becomes overshadowed.

#2. Per Memory Alpha, the writers thought Vedek Bareil was a "weak" character who they wanted to kill off since they were unsure about how to use him going forward. That's fine. But this storyline should have been STANDALONE.

There are too many moving facets to squeeze into a 45 minute period, let alone squeezing it in with the peace treaty:

- Bareil's romantic relationship with Kira
- Bareil's political relationship with Kai Winn
- Bareil's religious relationship with the Bajoran people as its spiritual leader

#3. Did the writers want to make a commentary piece about how human life shouldn't be supported solely by artificial technology? If so, that in itself is a STANDALONE story, separate from the treaty negotiations.

Also, "Ian" made a good point above. This episode essentially negates the validity of Data's existence in "The Measure of a Man."

#4. An alive (but robotic) Bareil would have been a decent way of handling his character going forward -- even if he were to be killed off later on. Heck, have him killed moments before the peace treaty is signed (which would have destroyed the treaty altogether).

This "double-edged" ending would have had significant emotional Kira AND the viewer. Bariel's death would have been tough on Kira, but simultaneously, she would have been glad to hear that the treaty didn't pan out (further emphasizing her hatred for the Cardassians).

I know the writers were having a somewhat challenging time transitioning from episodic writing to serialized writing. But there's no reason why the aforementioned story-arc events could have been all used on a standalone basis, and instead, we're left with the discombobulated mashup that is "Life Support."

My rating: 2 out of 4 stars
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Thu, Jan 24, 2013, 12:17pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: TNG S7: Masks

I think "Ace" is right; each person approaches Star Trek with a different want and need. It also depends on that person's mood during the episode. If you had a bad day, you may not appreciate the episode as much, or you may love the episode since it helps you temporarily escape reality for 45 minutes.

I love that science fiction is able to create its own rules that help to shape a fantasy universe that viewers use for entertainment. However, there's a fine line where absurdity simply takes over, regardless of genre. For me, that's when the entertainment factor is diminished, because you feel like your intelligence was questioned and that your time has been wasted.

"Masks" was an atrocious episode, save for Brent Spiner's humorous performance. It goes to show that an actor/actress can take a very sub-par script and turn it into a decent piece of work. It also doesn't come as a surprise that the TNG crew had trouble filming this episode.

Think about it: an alien society creating its jungle onboard the Enterprise while demonly possessing our beloved characters is absurd. Even more absurd is communicating to these aliens by posing as one of their own kind via the use of a mask.

Going back to my point about science fiction and entertainment, the absurdity detracts from our fantasty universe that viewers have been escaping to for almost 7 seasons. I agree with Jammer in that I'll take "Masks" over the ghost sex in "Sub Rosa." However, I still can't help but wonder if the TNG writers were trying to make a parody of themselves.

My rating: 1 out of 4 stars
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Thu, Jan 24, 2013, 11:52am (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: DS9 S3: Past Tense, Part II

My thoughts on "Past Tense I" were very positive, garnering it a 3.5 out of 4 stars. Typically, the 2nd half of Star Trek two-parters tend to be more of a let-down than the 1st half, and unfortunately, "Past Tense II" continues that trend.

My main gripe with Part II is that, with all of the talk about Bell's Riots being a significant turning point in Earth history, along with the tense build-up in Part I about needing to save all of the hostages in order to preserve the timeline, the execution fell flat. The showdown depicted in Part II was not epic whatsoever.

First off, the bloodshed and riots were nearly non-existent from an on-screen perspective. In the minute of footage where the National Guard stormed the processing center and shot everyone, it was the antithesis of what I would consider "bloody but epic history." When I think of bloody and/or epic, I think: Paul Revere's secret mission, Boston Tea Party, the Civil War, Civil Rights March on Washington, etc.

More screentime could have been spent watching Bell's Riots itself unfold, especially in the streets and in other areas of the sanctuary. Doing so would have conveyed the sense of epic history. I would have preferred that over unnecessary scenes of Kira and O'Brien traveling to the 1930's and 1960's. The attempt at humor was appreciated, but awkwardly placed, since it detracted from Part I's darker tones.

Also, the ending left me a bit bothered (where Sisko walks out of the processing center with a mere flesh wound, moments after the National Guard stormed in). Seeing Vin (Dick Miller's character) have a 180-degree change of heart was implausible. It all felt too too rosy and convenient.

The political messaging, a core strength in Part I, was M.I.A. in Part II. Yes, the hostages did survive (except for Webb), and we know the Sanctuary District is later dismantled. However, the aforementioned dull ending stole much needed drama away from a supposed epic event in Earth's history.

It would have been more effective had the writers coined it as "Webb's Riots," and that Sisko, Bashir and Dax were simply trying to help advance Webb's cause (in an effort to preserve the timeline). After all, Webb became the face of those quarantined in the Sanctuary during the negotiations and after the link to Public Internet TV was established. Not to mention, Webb himself was killed during the riots. Having Sisko take Bell's place seemed "cool" on paper, but fell flat in execution.

Or alternatively, as I mentioned in my commentary for "Past Tense I," what if the DS9 crew had to address the use of the Sanctuary District (with Kai Winn's blessing) on Bajor? Bajoran society IS in the midst of being rebuilt, and it would have helped to continue developing the Bajor arc. The writers could have still created an allegory to modern day Earth, and Sisko could have still served as the 'teacher' when making comparisons to Earth's own tumultuous history.

Overall, Past Tense II is a reboot episode in disguise with only one minor consequence: Sisko's face is used in lieu of Gabriel Bell's. Nothing else in the universe became impacted. I would have forgiven the reboot ending had we seen the riots unfold in epic manner. Such "cop out" writing is what frustrates me about Seasons 1 through 3, since I know how great the writing becomes in Seasons 4 through 7.

My rating: 2.5 out of 4
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Thu, Jan 24, 2013, 9:40am (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: DS9 S3: Past Tense, Part I

"Part Tense I" was a great episode, but I'm not sure if it was deserving of 4 stars. I'll address the 2nd half on Jammer's Part II page.

The social messaging that Star Trek was trying to convey certainly worked for me as I rewatched "Past Tense I." Jammer said it best when he used the analogy of Sisko as the teacher and Bashir as the student. The long scene where Sisko and Bashir walked down the street just talking about the historical impact of the Bell Riots was very well done. It was also great to see Star Trek address how the impoverished are viewed in future-America as they sit behind walls in quarantine, with no pragmatic assistance from the government.

The processing center scenes were dark and amusing; it very much reminds me of how real-life patrons are treated at the DMV, and how the workers are very apathetic to their job and its surroundings. After all, scenes depicted in "Past Tense I & II" represent a drastic change from the culture that Starfleet is accustomed to where everyone is motivated not by money or survival, but by a yearn for curiosity.

According to Memory Alpha, this contrast in human culture was said to be part of Ira Steven Behr's continued studies on Gene Roddenberry's visions. Until these real-life societal issues are solved, if ever, "Past Tense I" is a timeless episode in that homelessness, hunger, unemployment and economic decay still plague us in present day (2013). With 2024 only 11 years away, and with the continued economic recession, it's eerie to think that DS9 may predict the future just as they predicted the '99 Yankees in the same episode.

To address concerns about "technobabble," I'm actually glad that the writers chose to limit it to just a few short scenes with Kira and O'Brien. After all, they needed a plausible explanation as to how Sisko, Bashir and Dax ended up in 21st century Earth, and how their comrades can track them down. Frankly, I appreciated this time travel explanation over the one used in the TNG "Time's Arrow I & II" where an alien culture created a temporal vortex on a distant planet that led the crew back to Earth.

Avery Brooks is finally "breaking out" in that the Sisko character is showing more emotion. It's great to see it coincide with the new adventuring themes in Season 3. Echoing others' opinions, my gripe is that his acting does feel a little forced at times, but that could be because viewers are accustomed to the high bar that Patrick Stewart set with Picard. Although Sisko posing as Gabriel Bell was VERY predictable, I appreciated his b@d@$$ comment at the end of Part I: "The name's Bell, Gabriel Bell."

I also have to agree with some of the previous comments about the execution of the political commentary. As I mentioned before, the message itself worked, but the execution itself felt a little overly dramatic (and reminded me quite a bit of how TOS and early TNG handled commentary). This correctness did convey a slight sense of smugness, as Elliott mentioned. It came across as a bit awkward and forced.

Although I enjoyed "Past Tense I," one has to wonder if this could have been an even more effective episode had the writers used a DS9-relevant story arc as the foundation to this episode. Imagine if the crew found out that the Bajorans were setting up a "Sanctuary" to hide their diseased and overly impoverished people, and that our DS9 heroes (Sisko, Bashir and Kira) have to somehow stop the madness. After all, Bajor is in a rebuilding process and their society is still in shambles. Heck, perhaps Kai Winn is the one who came up with the Sanctuary idea!

I know this is Hollywood, and the writers needed an excuse to time travel to near-present day Earth. However, the lack of DS9-arc relevancy and the awkward-at-times execution and hints of political smugness warrants a .5 star demotion.

My rating: 3.5 out of 4 stars
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Tue, Jan 22, 2013, 10:57am (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: DS9 S3: Defiant

At 9 years old, I always remembered how cool "Defiant" was for its action scenes involving Thomas Riker's sinister schemes with stealing the ship to invade Cardassian space. However, I was too young to fully understand the political tension between the Cardassian Central Command, the Obsidian Order, the Maquis and the Federation.

Now that I'm 27, I have grown to fully appreciate this episode for more than just its action scenes. It makes me very excited to continue my rewatch of the entire DS9 series, but here are some thoughts about "Defiant."

- The chemistry between Marc Alaimo (Gul Dukat) and Avery Brooks (Sisko) is always superb. The scene in the briefing room aboard DS9 where they come face-to-face, man-to-man, gave me chills. A+ writing, A+ acting.

- My jaw dropped during the interchange between Korinas and Dukat, where she questioned Dukat's competency as a military strategist. Later, we find out that the Obsidian Order has been hiding secret projects from the Cardassian military in the Orious System. It effectively builds on the strong hints of political division in Cardassia, as seen in "Second Skin" and other past episodes.

- I didn't make the connection until reading Memory-Alpha, but it was neat seeing "Kalitas" again (she was one of the Maquis featured in TNG's "Preemptive Strike"). It was a subtle, but neat element that added to the TV show crossover element.

Unlike my perspectives at 9 years old, I actually found the Thomas Riker plot to be the "weakest" element of the episode. That's a very relative use of the term, only because the aforementioned political tension is SO WELL DONE that it somewhat clouds the drama behind Thomas Riker. As Jammer mentioned, the real threat is actually the Obsidian Order (and not necessarily the Maquis and stolen Defiant). Here are a few additional thoughts:

- I was also surprised to see Thomas Riker surrender almost too easily towards the end. I appreciate his stance on finally realizing it was a no-win, suicidal scenario. However, the Maquis would prefer dying in the name of their cause rather than facing permanent imprisonment.

- Kira killing Riker would have served as a more satisfying ending, especially since he duped her. Echoing Tim's earlier comment, the kiss at the end seemed very out of character.

- It's strange to think that the DS9 writers never bothered to revisit the Thomas Riker plot. I enjoyed seeing the Cardassian judicial system in "Tribunal," and more of that with Thomas Riker flair thrown in would have been great. Jonathan Frakes even WANTED to do a follow-up episode. This was absolutely a missed opportunity, in my opinion.

- This isn't a nitpick, but it would have been neat to hear Dukat accusing Major Kira of also defecting to the Maquis (only to have Sisko defend her in the name of trust). After all, she may have "played along" with Thomas Riker about the warp core breach. Her hatred for Cardassians is no secret, and it would have been interesting to question her trust, even if momentarily.

I want to point out the importance of this episode from a TV production perspective. Having Riker aboard for an episode was a cool crossover idea that helped to further legitimize Deep Space Nine as being in the same universe as The Next Generation - a needed element to attract new fans who wanted more Trek after TNG ended. As "Generations" premiered three days prior to this episode, I'm sure the extra publicity was welcomed with open arms. I, for one, didn't really start getting super hooked into DS9 until late Season 2/early Season 3, and episodes like "Defiant" certainly helped to win me over.

All of that said, I respectfully disagree with Jammer's 3.5 out of 4 star rating. Perhaps it was the Riker/Kira ending that warranted a .5 star reduction. Nevertheless, I think this is equally as good as "Necessary Evil," "Whispers," and "Crossover" - the last 3 episodes to have received a 4 star rating.

My rating: 4 out of 4 stars
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Fri, Jan 18, 2013, 3:37pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: TNG S1: The Neutral Zone

I'd have to slightly disagree with Jammer on this one. A 1.5 star rating is a bit *too* harsh. I agree it was a disjointed episode, but there are a few fun factors that add to the entertainment and watchability of this episode.

- Watching the 20th century humans try to adapt to 24th century life, let alone life during a crisis, was amusing. Also, the set of the cryogenic chambers was well put together. It was probably my 2nd favorite away team set, with the 1st one being the transport ship from "Heart of Glory."

- Seeing the Romulans on-screen "for the first time in 50 years" (but really 18 years since TOS was aired) was cool for its time. I also forgot about the Romulan attack that was supposedly taking place during "Angel One." It goes to show the writers didn't plan far ahead, haha.

- Although no one knew it back then, this episode provided hints about the Borg's existence. Maybe it's this "future" knowledge which makes me think a little more highly about this episode.

Compared to most of Season 1, this episode is definitely one of the better ones.

My rating: 2.5 out of 4 stars
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Fri, Jan 18, 2013, 2:33pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: TNG S6: Relics

Jammer's review is SPOT ON. The heavy-handed nostalgia works very well for anyone who has followed Trek since TOS days and/or has appreciation for the foundational groundwork that the TOS crew provided to the Trek franchise.

For anyone who didn't know, the concept of Dyson's Sphere is actually one cultivated in the real world during the 1950's. Freeman Dyson was amused by this episode. Per Memory Alpha:

"Freeman Dyson himself called his theory a 'joke.' About 'Relics', Dyson said: 'Actually it was sort of fun to watch it. It's all nonsense, but it's quite a good piece of cinema.' [1] In the same interview, he said that 'Stapledon sphere' would be a more appropriate name, in honor of Olaf Stapledon, whose depiction of such an object in his 1937 novel Star Maker inspired young Dyson to look into the theory."

That said, the Dyson's Sphere was a fantastic sci-fi concept that helped to continue bridging both television series. The notion that Scotty randomly shows up 70+ years later in the Trek Universe is far-fetched itself, but the Sphere allowed for both his appearance AND for Scotty to save the day. Perfect homage for TOS, in my opinion.

Furthermore, Scotty's interaction with the TNG crew is well-executed. Much like his reaction to Ensign Sonya Gomez in "Q Who," Geordi expresses quick frustration over dealing with annoying personalities. Meanwhile, Picard expresses sympathy with Scotty, not only as a Captain, but also as someone who is a bit senior in age himself. And the Data scene in Ten Forward eerily reminds you of Scotty's conversations with Spock, his own non-human crew member on TOS.

I do agree with Jammer that the Dyson's Sphere was a grand concept that was not properly addressed in the Trek Universe, and that technobabble may have stolen away a bit of screentime from further deepening the emotional impact of Scotty's return. However, I'm not sure if it deserves the demotion of an entire star.

My rating: 3.5 out of 4 stars
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Fri, Jan 18, 2013, 1:37pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: TNG S6: Timescape

@Landon - I think the "hate" for BB came about during the course of Star Trek: Voyager. BB's episodes on Next Gen were fantastic, but many feel visions for Voyager were haphazardly executed. Perhaps national ratings pressure from UPN Executives screwed up his mojo, but it's almost like we saw a completely different person sharing the same name and writing duties.

Regarding "Timescape," I thought this was a fanastic mystery episode. Mysteries is a sub-genre that TNG does quite well, in my opinion, and is golden BB material. Like Jammer mentioned, take a look at "Cause & Effect" and "Frame of Mind," where the mystery is what keeps the viewer engaged until the very end. THAT is successful television writing.

Also, I enjoyed the twist where the viewer finds out that Romulans aren't the bad guys. It takes a second or two to fathom this notion since you a seemingly destructive beam between the Enterprise and the Romulan ship. And the viewer is accustomed to thinking that Romulans are always the bad guy. That's what makes the twist and entire episode so successful.

The concept of aliens-from-another-dimension-nurturing-their-newborn-in-the-Romulan-warp-core-mistaken-to-be-a-black-hole IS very hokey and far-fetched. That's probably why I took away half a star in my own rating. However, to the story's credit, it does serve as a fantastic vehicle for a humorous and engaging episode. Can you think of any other instance where you see Picard insanely laughing while drawing a smiley face into a cloud of smoke? I certainly can't.

My rating: 3.5 out of 4 stars
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Fri, Jan 18, 2013, 12:15pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: DS9 S2: Profit and Loss

I thought a 2-star rating was appropriate. Despite the plot holes, the episode was at least "somewhat watchable."

I was entertained by Quark's desire for romance. He typically has no luck with women, so it was nice to know that he did have a past relationship, and how he yearned for a rekindling.

The episode would have probably worked better if Natima was introduced as WANTING to rekindle things with Quark, only to find out that she had ulterior motives. Or alternatively, have Natima push away Quark ENTIRELY and have Quark still save the day. Instead, Natima's wishy-washy turn of emotions came across as implausible, and made the episode laughable, at best.

The other plot holes didn't help. I, too, wondered why Odo released the wanted Cardassians. One could argue that this was "somewhat" addressed by Starfleet when they introduced Eddington as punishment for Odo's freelancing actions in the Season 3 opener. It's a stretch but I'm trying to give the writers some slack.

Also, this was probably my least favorite use of Garak, thus far. I understand his motive of wanting to support Cardassia in an effort to regain credibility, but his attempt to stop the Cardassians fugitives was poorly handled. His scenes and storyline placements are SO WELL DONE in DS9 that his appearance in "Profit & Loss" simply felt awkward.

My last gripe was with the decision to have Gul Turan physically present and then vaporized without consequence. Surely, Turan's crew would have wondered why he was missing and opened fire on DS9. Also, the murder of Turan would be caused other political ripples - even if it was Garak who murdered him. This plot hole probably bothered me the most since DS9 episodes revolving around Cardassians have been really good until now. Maybe it would have worked better had Gul Turan been *en route* to DS9, only to find out that Natima & Co. was "never on the station."

My rating: 2 out of 4 stars (leaning towards 1.5)
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Thu, Jan 17, 2013, 3:23pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: TNG S6: The Chase

I enjoyed this episode quite a bit, for many reasons.

1. It quells fans' desire to know why every alien in Star Trek has 2 arms and 2 legs. My girlfriend continually asked that question when she began rewatching TNG with me.

2. I love the fast-pace excitement of this episode. Each "act" contained a significant plot element, whether it was Galen's ship being destroyed, or when the Enterprise was temporarily disabled by the Cardassians. Like Jammer said, it was very Indiana Jones-like without the stunts).

3. Seeing all of Trek's major races (Humans, Klingons, Cardassians and Romulans) was a riot. This greatly tickled the inner nerd in me.

4. It was greatly amusing to see all of the major Trek aliens working together in order to solve this puzzle. *** SPOILER *** If I remember correctly, the only other time where Trek's major aliens worked together was in DS9, when most Alpha Quadrant species banded together to combat the Dominion occupation.

Quite frankly, the only negative aspect to this episode was the lack of follow-up. Finding out a major piece of DNA evidence that impacts the whole quadrant, and never hearing about it again is a bit odd. Then again, such episodic writing was TNG's motto, and just because everyone shares very similar DNA doesn't mean it improves inter-species relations.

My rating: 3.5 out of 4 stars
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Thu, Jan 17, 2013, 3:01pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: DS9 S1: Battle Lines

I'd have to agree with Van_Patten on this one. I, too, don't think "Battle Lines" deserved its 3-star rating. I think it has to do with me not being able to look beyond the implausible immortaility backdrop.

If this planet COULD regenerate cells and keep people alive, wouldn't the entire Gamma Quadrant want to flock there and somehow steal, learn, and/or reap the god-like benefits that this planet offers?

Also, I think it would have been more powerful to have killed off Kai Opaka in ways that related to the Bajoran/Cardassian storyline. Imagine if she was killed on the station via a Cardassian assassination? What if Vedek Winn's crafted a plot to kill Opaka herself? Or that Winn's schemes led to an "accidental" death of Opaka? Instead, Opaka is forever stuck on some alien-of-the-week planet that we never see or hear of ever again.

Nana Visitor's performance was the highlight and saving grace of this episode. Her reaction to Kai Opaka's death helped to further develop the importance of the "Kai" figure through the eyes of the Bajorans, much like real-life religions idolize their leaders (e.g. Catholics and the Pope).

My rating: 2 out of 4 stars
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Thu, Jan 17, 2013, 2:43pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: DS9 S2: Sanctuary

I agree with most of the previous comments. "Sanctuary" seemed lost in its efforts in both entertaining the viewer and telling a strong story.

- The 10 minutes spent on the Universal Translator was awkward and misplaced. These 10 minutes could have been used to better develop the Skrreeans as a race.

- Similarly, there is little sympathy towards the Skrreeans. I'm not sure if that's because the acting was a bit off, or if the plot was thin, or both, but I found it difficult to care about the outcome of their plight.

- I see how this episode can be seen as a Jewish allegory. However, I still agree with "LastDawnOfMan" though; the arbitrary claim that Bajor is the Skrreeans' holy land is far-fetched. The religious tones are not properly built up, so there's no meaning behind the Skrreeans' claim (unlike the Jewish/Palestinian conflict that has a very deep backstory).

The only saving grace of this episode is the ending, which I thought was actually NOT a fast exit. A fast exit would have meant the Bajorians giving up a piece of their land to the Skrreeans. Instead, they did end up relocating to a nearby Class-M planet.

It's also important to note Andrew Koenig's appearance as Haneek's son, Tumak. He was the real-life son of Walter Koenig (Chekov from TOS). Unfortunately, Andrew took his own life in 2010 after a battle with depression. May he rest in peace.

Lastly, this comment extends beyond "Sanctuary," but I personally find the DS9 early series aliens-of-the-week to be very cheezy on multiple levels (almost equally cheezy to the Season 1 TNG aliens).

- The Skrreeans are ridiculous, not only in their demands, but also with their hair and clothing styles from circa 1985.
- The Dosi were absurd with their facepaint and American Gladiators style outfits. Conceptually, they were "OK" (two-dimensional creatures but at least their dialogues weren't hokey). However, I still couldn't take them visually seriously.
- The immortality of the warring clans from "Battle Lines" was far-fetched to begin with.

My episode rating: 1.5 out of 4 stars
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Thu, Jan 17, 2013, 1:39pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: DS9 S3: The Abandoned

In my opinion, this is such an underrated episode -- but probably because there are so many really good Federation/Jem'Hadar episodes that this one gets somewhat lost in the shadow.

Upon our DS9 series rewatch, my girlfriend and I easily drew comparisons to "I, Hugh" from TNG; the crew discovers a seemingly innocent being from an enemy race and tries to befriend it. The similarities end once it is realized that the Jem'Hadar are soul-less killing machines and can't be reprogramed or reasoned with. I also appreciate how the Jem'Hadar boy serves as a reflection of DS9's darker tones, unlike Hugh's friendliness reflecting TNG's ubiquitous optimism .This adds depth to the seriousness of the Jem'Hadar threat.

Furthermore, it is also a great way for the DS9 crew (and the viewers) to learn about the Jem'Hadar's biological addiction to that serum. I know this plays a huge part in future episodes, but also re-affirms the Founders' control over the Jem'Hadar. The Jem'Hadar's inability to think outside of killing is also vastly fascinating, and it gives you that sense of insecurity, much like the Borg and their own ruthless mannerisms.

My main nitpick is that, unlike "I, Hugh," the DS9 crew doesn't even attempt to name the Jem'Hadar. I understand the DS9 crew's reluctance to do so, much like TNG was apprehensive to name Hugh. However, Trek has always been wonderful at showcasing human compassion even in the darkest of times. One can argue that it is a further reflection of the series' darker tones, and that the DS9 crew is imperfect in their decisions. However, the lack of attempt left me a bit odd.

That nitpick aside, I am surprised this episode only received a 3. I think it is subjectively deserving of a 3.5 out of 4; not a gloriously perfect episode, but a great "foundational" one that provides more depth into the Dominion story arc.

My rating: 3.5 out of 4 stars
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Thu, Jan 17, 2013, 11:56am (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: DS9 S3: Second Skin

This was a GREAT episode and better executed than the very comparable (and equally enjoyable) "Face of the Enemy" from TNG.

Like Jammer said, the unfolding events of the episode made me believe, even if only briefly, that perhaps Kira was truly a Cardassian. Just the look in her eyes, her body language and her tone of voice -- Kira was slowly, but surely, breaking. Kudos to Nana Visitor for an excellent performance.

I also want to applaud the writers and producers for their great work; they knew viewers wouldn't easily buy into the "Kira as a Cardassian" concept, so they spent very little time trying to find out her true physiology (e.g. having Bashier run a slew of technobabble DNA tests). Doing so would have been implausible and utterly absurd. Instead, the DS9 crew was busy traveling to Cardassia to rescue Kira, while Kira was a simply plot vehicle that allowed viewers a better glimpse into the Cardassian political atmosphere.

Kudos to Garak/Andrew Robinson, as well. His character is VERY enjoyable, believable and memorable to watch. His exchange with Sisko about getting caught was fantastic and ranks up there as one of my favorite Garak moments, thus far.

GARAK: I'll go along on your fool's errand, but I want one thing to be perfectly clear. I have no intention of sacrificing my life to save yours. If it looks like we're in danger of being captured, if there's any signs of trouble at all, you're on your own.
SISKO: Mister Garak, I believe that's the first completely honest thing you've ever said to me.

My only two (minor) gripes with the episode are as follows:

- Echoing Jakob Mokoru's comment, I wish the episode addressed the unveiled dead body. I bet that limited screen/dialogue time made this difficult, but I was curious if the body was a clone, or if Kira had a twin that she didn't know about. Nevertheless, it does add clout behind the Obsidian Order's ability to successfully pull off their scare tactics and other means of psychological terror.

- How does the Federation continuously infilitrate Cardassia Prime without any problems? In "The Wire," Bashier easily got into Enabran Tain's home (granted, Tain preemptively warned the military of Bashier's arrival). In "Tribunal," Sisko popped into the court room with O'Brien and Odo without any explanation. In this episode, did they use the cloaking device to hide in orbit around Cardassia? If so, did the Romulans allow the Federation to keep the cloaking device? If there wasn't a cloaking device involved, how did they remain undetected? I know Garak fooled Gul Benil with his Alpha Red priority mission clearance, but surely he didn't fool the entire military?

Minor nitpicks aside, this was an overall well done episode. VERY well done.

My rating: 3.5 out of 4 stars (teethering towards a 4 out of 4)
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Mon, Jan 14, 2013, 12:30pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: DS9 S2: The Wire

@Grumpy - I think that's why I enjoyed "The Wire" so much. In retrospectively looking at DS9, it has one of the strongest recurring character list out of all Trek's. To name a few:

- Garak
- Dukat
- Winn
- Martok
- Weyoun

To acheive greatness in developing these recurring characters, the writers took an extreme risk with this episode. This episode also strengthed the Bashier/Garak relationship that has been somewhat forgotten since Garak was only featured once in Season 1, despite having lunch with Bashier at least once a week. That's what makes "The Wire" a very successful episode, though I do see how people are divided.
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Mon, Jan 14, 2013, 12:22pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: DS9 S1: Duet

I am with "Steve" on this one - the ending was a little too dramatic. They didn't NEED to have Marritza killed at the end. Not to mention, the random townsfolk walking around DS9 didn't seem too shocked/scared when the actual murder took place. Then a small group of people gather around the dead corpse as the camera turns black.

In re-watching the ending, it felt like I was watching a stage show where the lights turned black and the curtains fall. Some people may prefer this type of screen-to-black ending that is infrequently used in Trek TV, but I walked away feeling like the ending was a bit contrived, taking the magic away from an otherwise fantastic episode.

My rating: 3.5 out of 4 stars
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Mon, Jan 14, 2013, 12:12pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: DS9 S1: If Wishes Were Horses

I am surprised this episode even garnered a 2-star rating. The premise is extremely far-fetched and absurdly ridiculous.

At first, I thought the episode was hokey because I rewatched it in the year 2012 (and MAYBE the premise was a little bit more plausible in 1993 when this first aired). Then I started to realize how much this episode reminded me of TNG Season 1's "Where No One Has Gone Before" (and a little of "The Naked Now" with lust overpowering the show's doctor).

All imagination-gone-wild iterations are far-fetched and absurdly ridiculous, regardless if it's 1987, 1993, or 2012.

My rating: 1 star out of 4
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Mon, Jan 14, 2013, 11:41am (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: DS9 S2: Tribunal

I agree with A. Helin; the blatant act of kidnapping a Federation citizen in Bajoran space is an act of war. I wanted to see the political aftermath play itself out (even if it were addressed in a later episode).

Also, O'Brien's character came across as almost comedic since no one (not even Odo) would tell him why he was in prison. TNG's take on "being captured by the Cardassians" worked so well in Chain of Command I & II because it was 110% serious - being captured is no laughing matter.

Also, the ending IS a bit contrived with Sisko randomly appearing in court with evidence that could embarrass the Cardassian courts. Between Sisko's surprise appearance and Bashier popping into Enabran Tain's house in "The Wire," is Cardassia Prime really that easy to infiltrate?

In my opinion, the episode would have been a little darker and a little stronger if the viewer learned that O'Brien DID secretly hide a commited crime, albeit a very small one, and have the Cardassian courts try to impose Execution for that undeserving crime. Sisko/Odo/Federation could have then come to the rescue by discovering a dirty secret about the highly-regarded Kovat -- which would have tarnished his record before retirement while embarrasing Cardassia -- and trading the confidentiality of the information for O'Brien's safe return.

Knowing that imperfection plagues the main cast is one of DS9's strongest elements, a la when it is discovered that Kira is the true murderer in "Necessary Evil." This COULD have been a 4-star episode if O'Brien did commit a crime and if the ending wasn't so convenient.

My rating: 2.5 out 4 stars.
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Mon, Jan 14, 2013, 11:03am (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: DS9 S2: The Jem'Hadar

"The Jem'Hadar" was a good episode and a fun way to end Season 2. That said, The Search I would have been an *awesome* season ender (much like BOBW I), but I don't know if the writers planned that far ahead.

Also, I suppose the writers needed a way to explain why Sisko went back to Earth for 3 months (coinciding with the 3 month summer intersession between Season 2 and Season 3) in his attempt to obtain the Defiant.

I loved the character interaction between Sisko/Jake, Sisko/Quark and Jake/Nog in the jungle. The Jake/Nog scenes with piloting the shuttlecraft were funny, but I think it seemed slightly inappropriate and took away from the seriousness of the episode.

Lastly, the visuals of this episode were fantastic. Seeing a Galaxy-Class starship that looks identical to the beloved Enterprise D destroyed is a crazy feeling. Also, it was great to see an atypical Star Wars-like battle between the runabouts and the Jem Hadar warships.

My rating: 3.5 out of 4 stars
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Mon, Jan 14, 2013, 10:31am (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: DS9 S3: The Search, Part II

I agree with Jayson's comment. I absolutely don't think it was a "cop-out" ending since it shows how powerful the Dominion really are, and how our heroes are being toyed with like ragdolls.

The Search II ever-so-slightly reminded me of The Manchurian Candidate. It seemed like Starfleet was being brain-washed by the Dominion and that Admiral Necheyev was simply a puppet leader. How could the Federation have easily given up Bajor, DS9, and Wormhole Access to the Dominion? That question lingered as I progressed through the episode.

However, The Search I & II were not perfect. Here are some things that bothered me about it:

- Odo's refusal to join the Great Link was rushed. The guy has spent his ENTIRE life searching for his origins. Yet, his decision to remain with the solids to save their lives seemed in the name of justic seemed less heroic.

- Frankly, Odo's sudden desire to be drawn to the Omarion Nebula by looking at a map is also a little contrieved. He's BEEN to the Gamma Quadrant before, and surely, he's looked at Gamma Quadrant maps before, too.

- I can't recall, but I *think* this is explained in a later episode...but I was surprised to see that the Romulans almost voluntarily loaning the cloaking device to the Federation. Also, the Romulans only had one representative aboard. It would have been more plausible to see a Romulan warbird accompany the Defiant into the Gamma Quadrant (and have it destroyed by the Jem Hadar) AND/OR have multiple representatives aboard to ensure safety of their proprietary cloaking device.

That said, the positive aspects of this episode really outweigh the minor plotholes in what is a fantastic two-parter.

- I LOVED seeing Odo smile at the end of Search I. My girlfriend teared up when she saw this scene during our DS9 rewatch.

- Seeing the Defiant de-cloak was really cool. Neat introduction and great plot vehicle (pun intended) for the writers.

- I forgot that Eddington was introduced in this episode -- very cool. Eddington is what George Primmin (random security officer from Season 1) should have been. It would have made Eddington's later "heel-turn" even more effective had he been around since the beginning.

Like Jammer said in The Search I's review, this is absolutely a turning point for DS9's future storylines. It's also a symbolic turning point in that Ira Steven Behr basically took over the helm from Michael Piller. Even though I know how the entire series plays out, I am VERY excited to continue my rewatch.
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