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Sun, Jun 16, 2013, 2:39am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S6: Far Beyond the Stars

Just watched this episode again. Probably seen it five or six times. I come back to it because I write science fiction. It's message of the power of writers to create the future is very strong. Douglas wants to appeal to the status quo because the status quo has money to buy issues. The future may contain readers who want this but he can't spend future money. The real value though is in Bennie's world changing ideas.

Folks have mentioned Roddenberry's purposeful diverse cast. And I'm sure you've heard Martin Luther King's poignant response to Nichelle Nichols as she tried to leave the show. That BEING a black woman on the bridge of the Enterprise showed that one day race wouldn't matter. She stayed because the appearance of her character on the bridge gave hope to MLK and others that the future was now possible.

What Roddenberry never did was place a gay character on Star Trek. When I watch this episode I think about that. Not comparing my life to Bennie's. But I think about how writers make the future happen by getting you to think about it. To see a gay person and it be a non-issue would have signaled to all those gay kids that the future included them as acceptable folk. And it does. Roddenberry never traipsed down that road. He was also not a big fan of religion and found ways to dethrone it, demystify it, demyth it at every opportunity. DS9 explored it fully and Kira and Sisko are great examples of those who accept a faith without all the answers. And without the need to counter it with science.

The strength of this episode is in the power writing has to change the future. Roddenberry contributed to that dream and that reality. And as science fiction writers, or writers in general, we face the Douglases who say, "But it doesn't matter if you write it, it won't sell." Readers of science fiction don't want a gay protagonist. They can't identify with it, do let's make it a straight male to broaden the audience. Otherwise you'll be in the Queer Lit section. This episode gives the viewer a task to change history too. Bennie may not have been successful. But Gene was.

I too wished the plot line had been more seamlessly placed in the Dominion War arc. It seemed that someone took a cool episode and tried to make it match the arc, but with no consequence. But then there are baseball playing episodes that I think could be more relevant too.

By and large, this was a good episode about how society changes one idea at a time. Even Cassie might have been changed by Bennie's ideas if she realized that one day she could dream of a bigger future for herself. Heavy handed at times, the episode still inspires me.
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Sat, Jun 15, 2013, 11:03pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S6: The Reckoning

Just watched it again on DVD. I think it's a solid episode and I've always liked how DS9 explores faith and the Federation. For me it questioned WHY people wanted to interact with the prophets. Yes, for Sisko it is wisdom. He wants to know how best to serve them--an evolution for him. For Odo, it was about respecting the woman he loved enough to let her follow through on giving her life for her faith. For Jake, sheer fear on losing his father to a radicalism that threatens Sisko's life too many times. For Dax, a problem when a Federation leader has spiritual tendencies. He threatens the current conflict and Bajor's safety. Finally Winn--who has never spoken directly to the Prophets or been spoken to by them.--a chance to either hurt them, or maybe--in a weird way--to try and show how faithful she could be to Sisko-- who would seem to appreciate her move more. I truly didn't know if she had a change of heart or not. I watched it as Kira misjudging her. But realize that Winn will act to make herself more "appreciated" in S7. She will do anything to be beyond mere mortal interaction with the prophets. She's seeking a spiritual high. An importance that proves her worthiness. She wants a prophet to say she is good. I can see both a good intention --saving DS9 and Jake and Sisko, and a bad intention--getting back at Sisko and the Prophets by thwarting this battle. I also love that Sisko must ask himself if he's willing to sacrifice Jake to win. And he was. And this to me moved Winn and Sisko into their camps pre-S7. Sisko would be more Religiously devoted and Winn would be irreversibly more self-centered. Irredeemable.
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