Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Air date: 5/4/1998
Written by Ronald D. Moore
Directed by Michael Vejar
Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan
"You're here to write the story—to tell people of the Valiant and her crew. Don't interfere with this story, Jake. Don't become a part of it. Just let it unfold around you. Observe, listen, and then write it down." — Captain Tim Watters
Nutshell: Pretty strong. A little stilted at times, but a nice story with some interesting opposing arguments.
"Valiant" is an effective episode about the virtues and values of the Starfleet officer, and what happens when those values are misapplied. It works through many subtle and well-conceived moments, and capitalizes on some of the current aspects of war.
The story brings Jake and Nog into a situation that they've been in many times before—that is, the "in over their heads" paradigm. But this is a more serious side of the Jake/Nog pairing, which puts them into a truly dangerous setting under motivations very unlike the comic antics of something like "In the Cards."
En route to Ferenginar in a Runabout, the two encounter a wing of Dominion fighters. Their Runabout is chased into Dominion territory and attacked, but the two are rescued in the nick of time when beamed aboard the USS Valiant, a Defiant-class starship that has been trapped behind enemy lines for the past eight months.
The crew of the Valiant isn't your typical crew. It's a crew of Starfleet cadets—more specifically, the elite group known as Red Squad. Ah, yes—Red Squad. We've heard about this group before, back in fourth season's "Homefront"/"Paradise Lost" two-parter. Nog had always wanted to be a member of this special squad. Now he gets that chance.
The Valiant crew is something of an unintended experiment. They were supposed to run the starship under the supervision of commissioned Starfleet officers, but during a Dominion attack, the captain and the other officers were killed. Just before the captain had died, he gave command of the ship to Tim Watters (Paul Popowich), a 22-year-old cadet—presumably the most capable leader of Red Squad. Now Watters intends to finish the job that his captain had started months ago: to locate and gather intelligence information about a new, powerful Dominion battleship, which Watters knows to be in the area. Unfortunately, they haven't been able to approach near the battleship, because their speed has been limited due to technical problems. Within minutes, Watters gives Nog the role of chief engineer, giving him a field promotion to lieutenant commander and the assignment of repairing the warp engines.
Meanwhile, Jake finds himself out of his element, surrounded by people his own age, but people who hold very different opinions. In essence, the Valiant crew is a pack of very young soldiers, who are very aware of the war around them. Being trapped behind enemy lines, these cadets have been forced to improvise, learning how to perform for real, long before anyone would've expected them. Jake, always the observant type, looks around him to see a crew that is probably a little cockier and fearless than it has any right to be—and probably feels much more invincible than it truly is.
Captain Watters, as performed by Popowich, is mature, and he knows how to deal with people. As he tells Nog, the officers of the Valiant must "rise to occasion" in order to overcome difficult obstacles, as Watters himself as obviously done. The way Watters handles Jake—who obviously doesn't agree with most of Watters' outlooks—is an interesting display of leadership. He's calm and clear in his intentions, but very respectful, diplomatic, and reserved. (His chat with Jake, telling him to "tell the story of the Valiant and her crew" was particularly well written.) At the same time, however, Watters also shows that he is inexperienced, and that he puts too much faith in his own ability to overcome limits. The fact that he has been popping pills to stay awake for hours on end serves as a good foreshadow of his self-destructive potential.
The thing I liked most about this episode was its ability to balance the two extreme, opposing attitudes—namely, Jake's and everyone else's. From the very beginning, Jake is utterly skeptical of the Valiant's crew and their perspective of the situation. I can certainly see where he's coming from; Watters is in way over his head and should know it, but consistently refuses to call it quits. And even though Jake has the prudence to realize that Watters and his crew have a tendency to go too far—refusing to accept the grim reality of a hopeless situation—does that mean the crew of the Valiant is truly a group of "delusional fanatics looking for martyrdom," as Jake labels them in his argument with Nog? I think that's an overstatement.
Nog's retort, as he speaks on behalf of the Valiant crew, as well as anyone else who "wears the uniform," is well put, taking offense at Jake's extreme view. Given how Nog has always bought into the idea of "Starfleet duty," his lines here are very believable. But at the same time, Nog's own view is biased. He believes in the idea of something "bigger than himself," allowing that belief to cloud his own judgment.
Meanwhile, Jake represents the polar opposite, going so far as to admit that he only cares about "Jake Sisko," and whether or not he's going to be killed by these "delusional fanatics." Both Jake's views and Watters' actions are examples of extremes that carry merit somewhere within the ideas behind them. Reality, I think, is somewhere in between.
The episode doesn't clearly side with either view. Jake passes some black-and-white judgments upon the situation, many of which can be validly argued against. Simply put, Jake's view is only one side of the story, and a great merit of "Valiant" is the way the story doesn't automatically accept Jake's interpretations of the events. It refuses to dismiss the other side, and using Nog as the voice to argue that other side is extremely sensible, and allows the story to unfold in a way which the viewer can decide (which is even spoken in dialog in the episode's intriguing closing scene).
Of course, the fact that Watters decides that, having once located this Dominion battleship, the Valiant crew should go so far as to attempt destroying it all by themselves goes a long way to showing how blind faith in a leader can be a very bad idea, leading, as in this case, to the demise of the whole. The audacious technical plan hatched by Watters and Farris is ambitious and exciting, and it's this excitement and the vie for greatness, combined with the crew's lack of experience, that leads them to follow Watters (as Nog later admits) right over a cliff.
About the only thing that didn't quite work for me in "Valiant" was some of the execution. Michael Vejar's direction, while usually quite good, couldn't come close to touching his effort earlier this season with "Rocks and Shoals." A few scenes in particular didn't fully resonate, although they were reasonable in the grand scheme of the story. I wasn't all that impressed by the "preparing for battle" montage. It was a little on the obvious and cheesy side, and it struck me as filler more than anything else. I don't think it was intended as filler, as this story certainly had enough substance to carry itself for an entire hour, but something about it seemed a little off-kilter.
Of course, there were a few other stilted moments, like the surprisingly obvious scene where the crew of cadets start chanting "Red Squad, Red Squad." It seemed a bit excessive considering the subtlety in much of the rest of the story, but I think it works in context nevertheless, especially when juxtaposing Jake's reaction during the event, as he stands amongst the crew with an expression that borders on disgust.
Performance-wise, Lofton, Eisenberg, and Popowich were all effective, but Courtney Peldon's turn as Commander Farris was surprisingly one-note and wooden. I can see that she was obviously intended as a character who was supposed to be skeptical of Jake and Nog from the outset, but most of her scenes were not very impressive.
On the other hand, I was impressed by Ashley Brianne McDonogh as Chief Dorian Collins, a probable example of the typical Valiant crew member. She's young, inexperienced, and like most of the crew has managed to rise to the occasion—but there's still the simple fact that she is not totally ready for the realities of war. The scene early in the episode where Jake and Dorian discuss home was nicely performed, showing where the true vulnerability of the Valiant lies: in its crew's uncertain ability to cope.
Of course, I must also mention the obligatory scene on the station that opens the episode—which struck me as a complete waste of time, intended for no other real purpose than to make sure all the starring cast members appeared in a scene. As for the dramatic intent of this scene—to show that Quark still has some sort of buried feelings for Dax—I don't buy it. It's a notion that strikes me as completely unnecessary at this stage in the series. Besides, we've been there, and done that.
On the technical side, pretty much everything was exemplary, particularly the painfully convincing destruction of the Valiant. Seeing the Valiant getting shellacked—bombarded by torpedo after torpedo—had me wincing, and did a fair job early on of making it obvious the ship would not survive. (And the shots of the Dominion destroying unarmed escape pods were particularly fierce.) My only technical complaint is in regard to Paul Baillargeon's score during the battle scene—music which was understated and severely lacking in punch.
But all in all, "Valiant" is a solid and engaging episode with some interesting things to say. It doesn't pull too many punches, seeing that the entire youthful crew of the ship, save three people, are killed in its destruction. As an episode within the Dominion War storyline, it works, and holds some fresh perspectives.
Next week: Moogie, Zek, Quark in drag, and a title with the word "profit" in it. I feel sick already...
Previous episode: The Reckoning
Next episode: Profit and Lace
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204 comments on this post
Sat, Nov 3, 2007, 10:30pm (UTC -5)
Utterly, utterly misguided and the series' lowpoint, this episode pushes all the wrong buttons with me (and as mentioned, I am not alone in this opinion). I am German, and seeing a group of people shout something in unison is linked with things in my mind that I do NOT want to be reminded of in the context of a Star Trek episode - especially not when the link is caused by the behaviour of the episode's supposed heroes.
Thanks, but no thanks. This episode is to me what "Profit and Lace" seems to be to everyone else - the worst of DS9 ever. And of Trek in general.
Loved that Dominion Warship, though...
Thu, Nov 22, 2007, 3:27am (UTC -5)
Besides from the far too obvious "soldier on-brain off - Switch", everybody seems to have activated on the ship (USS Voldemort - hehe!), I find the story completely unbelievable. Ok, Red Squad is an elite unit at Starfleet Academy (the elite of the elite...) but why oh why oh why should starfleet send them on a mission on one of the rare Defiant-class starships in such dangerous times?
I would like to add that I also was repelled by the "Red Squad, Red Squad"-scene - Maybe this IS a subject, most europeans are more...sensitive to? (I am from Austria).
Fri, Feb 1, 2008, 6:35pm (UTC -5)
On the topic of them all standing shouting 'red squad', while it may give some of us Europeans (I'm British) a slight reminder of a dark past, it just seemed very American to me, and reminded me of chants of 'USA! USA!'
Sat, Feb 16, 2008, 6:36pm (UTC -5)
1. Even assuming a Captain were to give command of a starship to a cadet because all the true officers were killed, the Captain WOULD NOT give the cadet a field promotion to Captain. And he also wouldn't say "continue the mission". Instead, he'd say "get your butt back home!".
2. Is it really a believable that a bunch of cadets could successfully maintain and operate a starship for 8 months? That would be like turning over a Navy Destroyer to a bunch of 3rd-year midshipmen in the middle of a war and expecting them to survive. I was in the Navy -- trust me, it ain't gonna happen.
3. I found it hard to believe a bunch of cadets would come up with such a serious design flag in the Dominion battleship. Kind of makes the real Starfleet engineers and scientists look like a bunch of dolts.
4. Even given an egomaniac Academy Senior who aspired to messianic tendencies, does anyone really thing the rest of the crew would blindly follow? Are we to assume that the cadets are a bunch of lemmings?
5. There was a vulcan in the cadet group. I though vulcans were logical. Isn't fanaticism an emotional trait?
6. Isn't it convenient that the ONLY escape pod to make it away from the ship in one piece was the one with Jake/Nog & Company aboard. How convenient.
Sorry, I think I'll go back and watch "Let He Who Is Without Sin" again. At least it was more believable.
Thu, Apr 3, 2008, 10:33pm (UTC -5)
Sun, Apr 13, 2008, 3:00pm (UTC -5)
Sat, Apr 19, 2008, 4:02pm (UTC -5)
I actually thought the entire story of this was heavily biased against Red Squad, right from the beginning, until it's actually a little absurd. Jake is immediately looked down on and deemed untrustworthy because "he doesn't wear THE UNIFORM," as if uniforms all by themselves make people able to be trusted. All it would take is one Jemhadar guy in a Starfleet uniform to completely undermine the ship, because they'd all do whatever he says.
The captain, who is busy turning into House with all his pill popping, spies on Jake until he finds justification for putting him in the brig, just for privately disagreeing with him. Every time Jake talks to anyone else in the crew they just give him a bunch of snark. And I don't think it's just this crew, isolated, that is the problem. The problem is Red Squad, and these "elite" kids who get all cocky and think they're better than everyone else, which just leads to disaster.
The real tragedy was that it almost seemed that the rest of the crew wanted to go back to Earth. They have Dorian crying, clearly homesick, just thinking of the moon. When the captain says their surveillance mission is complete and "we could all go home now," the crew looks happy. Then they get all stern when he tells them that they're all going to risk their lives because they're Red Squad and think they can do anything. Even though they're basically all kids, they can't question the captain's orders, because they're Red Squad. It's like being in Red Squad answers all of their questions for them already.
Anyway, that's why I think this is a good episode. This is one of the reviews or yours I found off though, I don't think they presented any balance in the story. The stuff with Section 31, that definitely seems more gray and justifiable to me, even if it's almost the same thing. Red Squad doesn't even get a fair treatment, and it probably doesn't deserve it.
Fri, Jun 20, 2008, 9:24pm (UTC -5)
Something interesting to think about, however, is "what if this concept had been TOS or TNG?" I think that the idea of a "ship of youngsters" could have gone very poorly with those two shows, which have demonstrated a desire to take such concepts too far as to be unbelievable. I think it's a testament to both DS9 and Ron Moore that this premise became such a successful episode.
And I think that that quality DS9 has (well, most of the time) of "keeping it real" as I like to say is what makes it the best Star Trek series.
Wed, Sep 17, 2008, 4:58am (UTC -5)
Wed, Oct 29, 2008, 12:10pm (UTC -5)
Let's recall the last time we met Red Squad- in Paradise Lost we discovered that they sabotaged Earth's power grid- plunging the entire world into darkness- and their representative seemed proud of it. This episode echoes Admiral Layton's attempts to subvert Starfleet and the Federation to Fascist rule and he used Red Squad's fanaticism to do so. They weren't the "elite of the elite" in the way we think of it- they were chosen based upon their loyalty to the ideas of a few higher ups in Starfleet who wanted extra influence over these "rising stars."
If a military organization trains some of its people in this way it can only indicate that part of it doesn't know what the other part is doing as evidenced by Layton's attempted coup or later episodes dealing with Section 31.
I don't think it's a particularly good episode but neither do I find it completely unbelievable. Fanaticism is nothing new given what we've seen some Starfleet officers do and Jake's escape pod being the only one that survives doesn't strain credibility more than plenty of similar situations in other episodes (ie none of the major characters being seriously injured/killed when the Defiant was boarded/destroyed or the Station attacked by the Klingons.)
Fri, Nov 28, 2008, 11:17am (UTC -5)
Tue, Dec 2, 2008, 11:10am (UTC -5)
The premise is absolutely absurd, on every level: a state-of-the-art warship which is desperately needed on the front lines is instead being used to train cadets. Then, starfleet gives this ship a mission instead and doesn't replace the cadets with a real crew capable of completing the mission. Then when the ship's captain dies, he gives a completely inexperienced cadet a field promotion to captain. Then instead of returning home (as they know starfleet would want them to to), the cadets attempt to complete the mission on their own. Then when they do complete it, they decide on their own, without starfleet, to go on another mission (which just happens to be a suicide mission).
Having actually attended a military academy I can tell you that although cadets do tend to be somewhat arrogant and prideful (not to mention a bit brainwashed), they are nowhere near so bone-headed as to think that they can actually do the job of real, commisioned officers or that they could reasonably take command of *anything*.
Equally absurd was the treatment of Jake by the crew of the Valiant. Do you really think that any reasonable person is going to chastise Jake for simply chatting with Dorian? It isn't as if he did anything to deliberately upset her and both the Captain and First Officer know it. I do not understand how Jammer can say that Watters was respectful, dimplomatic and reserved with Jake in this scene. It seemed more to me like he was being excessively rude, patronizing, unreasonable and arrogant.
The scene in which the cadets shout "Red Squad!", as others have pointed out, seems to paint the members of Red Squad as unthinking fanatics. Indeed, many cadets are overly patriotic, prideful and arrogant, but not anywhere near to this extent. This scene is extremely unrealistic and, as others have pointed out, disconcerting.
So, unless Starfleet Academy is somehow far worse than the military academies of today, I find it very hard to believe that a group of cadets could be so deluded as to think they can run a starship, so arrogant that they think they can take on a dominion battleship and so brainwashed that they ignore common sense and simply chant "Red Squad!" when faced with a reasonable argument. The only thing this episode got right was Jake and his reactions to this absolutely absurd situation.
Sat, Mar 7, 2009, 3:45am (UTC -5)
Unfortunately, for all the reasons outlined above, the logical execution of the plot is preposterous beyond belief. I'll submit that this kind of faux pas, The Gaping Plot Hole, offends Trekkies like myself more than any other kind of dramatic production gaffe. I'll add that for the Valiant to have survived for eight months BEHIND ENEMY LINES, maintaining radio silence and not having re-supplied once, while we regularly see Galaxy-class ships captained by experienced officers getting 'blow'd up' after a few shots from a Jem'Hadar fighter, is beyond even the realm of suspension of disbelief.
That former Valiant CO Ramirez didn't order Watters to set a course for the nearest starbase right before he died is also as dumb as rocks. I was almost glad when the Valiant got the living ^%$^%# kicked out of it in the end.
There's also the little matter of those Vulcan cadets who just stand around and nod. I would have figured one of them would have said, "This is illogical," at least once.
At least the actor who played Watters had a sort of nice, easygoing, Nick Locarno-ish rogue charm about him. A natural leader, able to convince young people around him to do what he wanted, simply on the strength of his charisma alone.
So, do we give the episode a pass because it had noble and good intentions? I'm reminded that "No good deed goes unpunished."
I have to say no.
Mon, Apr 13, 2009, 8:34pm (UTC -5)
Tue, Jul 14, 2009, 2:39am (UTC -5)
This episode SUCKED!!!!!!
Thu, Aug 6, 2009, 10:38pm (UTC -5)
After all, Nog himself should still only be a cadet, but he was promoted because it was wartime (and obviously to keep him on the show). I think the funny thing is, though, is how much this episode reminds me of the new Star Trek film. I guess Waters wasn't quite Kirk...
Fri, Sep 4, 2009, 11:14pm (UTC -5)
If Captain Ramirez really did promote this imbecile on his deathbed, his dead corpse should be court-martialed.
Sat, Oct 31, 2009, 3:54pm (UTC -5)
One thing that afflicted the entire trek universe, from TOS through to Enterprise, was the problem with Starfleet.
Far too often they have used starfleet as the source of some evil-doer who creates whatever disaster the show is focusing on this week. While every single regular cast member is the epitome of a heroic starfleet officer, it's ridiculous that every other member of starfleet is corrupt, evil, stupid, arrogant, ambitious, paranoid, and inept.
YOu can get away with this a couple of times in the life of a series, but Star Trek has gone back to the well twice a season for every one of the 27-odd seasons that make up the franchise across all series.
It's far beyond the point of just being lazy writing, it's criminally lazy writing and makes about 20% of all stories completely predictable.
While I'm complaining, I'll add that Jake Sisko is a terrible character. Are we supposed to be sympathetic to him? He is always whining, making terrible decisions that put other's lives in peril while trying to make himself feel like an adult investigative journalist. Perhaps the writers are doing this deliberately but by this point in the DS9 series I despise him more than any of the 'bad' guys.
I haven't enjoyed a single episode when Jake is the primary character.
This may not be the writers' fault. Cirroc Lofton is as bad an actor as Jake is a character, so perhaps he's not bringing the writers' vision of jake to life. His emotional scenes are flat as a pancake and he has no physical presense at all.
I know Jammer likes both Jake and Cirroc so perhaps I'm digging my own grave, but the DS9 story would have been a lot better off if Jake had never existed.
Fri, Nov 6, 2009, 8:48pm (UTC -5)
"The premise is absolutely absurd, on every level: a state-of-the-art warship which is desperately needed on the front lines is instead being used to train cadets."
Front lines? They weren't at war at the time the mission started.
"Then, starfleet gives this ship a mission instead and doesn't replace the cadets with a real crew capable of completing the mission."
The ship was trapped behind enemy lines! And remember the scene when Watters made it clear Starfleet didn't know that cadets were the only crew left?
"Then when the ship's captain dies, he gives a completely inexperienced cadet a field promotion to captain."
He was the head cadet from the group who were actually supposed to be operating the ship for three months; I don't see that he had any better alternative as far as who to put in charge.
"Then instead of returning home (as they know starfleet would want them to to), the cadets attempt to complete the mission on their own."
Remember the part about how they were limited to low warp? I don't think it was as simple as setting a course for home; at low warp they would not have much of a chance of safely passing the oft-mentioned border patrols. But they *were* intercepting communications that showed the battleship was in the area...
Sun, Nov 15, 2009, 7:09am (UTC -5)
2. Captain Watters had undeniable charisma, but that doesn't mean we should believe everything he says. (Why should we be as gullible as the cadets?) Watters claims that Captain Ramirez told him to "continue the mission." Were there any witnesses to this conversation? We know that Watters was much too proud to go slinking back to earth in a broken ship with a dead Captain and a failed mission. There was nothing he could do about the dead Captain, but he sure as hell wasn't going back to HQ without completing his first ever mission. He had ambitions of being an admiral someday, and admirals don't begin their careers by failing their first missions! I don't think Ramirez told Watters anything when he died--he was too busy dying!
Fri, Nov 27, 2009, 10:24am (UTC -5)
I think, Ospero & Jacob, that your concern is exactly the point of the episode. Though they may have been laying it a bit too thickly during the "Red Squad" scene.
They were just a bunch of cadets, yet they managed to survive for 8 whole months behind enemy lines... limited to only warp 3!! I think that's why the crew got cocky. Also why they think Captain Watters is God's next door neighbor and are ready, willing, and able to follow him to hell and back.
Yet they're just cadets. I think their lack of experience is why they underestimated the battleship's strength. Of course it failed, real engineers wouldn't allow that kind of obvious weakness in a ship. But the cadets lack the experience to know that. They're just too full of their own confidence in their abilities.
Sun, Dec 27, 2009, 7:23am (UTC -5)
I know it is a common convention in Star Trek that whenever they need to escape, the cast has "just enough" time to do whatever they need to do to avoid getting killed. It just seems that whenever the cast fires at an enemy ship though, it only takes 1 phaser... or 1 torpedo.
Voyager was more known for this, but even on TNG this was the case.
I think in this episode, it goes to extreme levels. I don't think the ship should have been able to take that much torpedo fire, and that ruins the believability of the climax.
The new red squadron actors were a little stiff as well. Just something fake about them, especially when compared to the regulars.
Otherwise, enjoyed the show.
Tue, Mar 30, 2010, 4:01pm (UTC -5)
Mon, May 24, 2010, 3:27pm (UTC -5)
Wed, Jul 28, 2010, 8:18am (UTC -5)
I also think Jake was painted as the only intelligent person aboard the ship right from the beginning and all the other characters were arrogant dolts. That made it easy to see where the story was heading.
During the battle scene with the new Jem'Hadar battleship, I couldn't help but imagine the Jem'Hadar inside going "Well, this not enough of a challenge for us, so let's let them do their thing before we destroy them."
Fri, Dec 3, 2010, 4:40am (UTC -5)
What this episode reminded me most of was Lord of the Flies, and so I was very disappointed that none of the cadets got a dressing-down from real Starfleet officers after their crazy actions. I'd love to have seen Sisko instruct Watters on what real command meant....
Loved the FX of the Valiant blowing up, though....
Sat, Feb 5, 2011, 6:06pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Feb 18, 2011, 12:06pm (UTC -5)
My other problem is just not liking what they did with Jake Sisko. Basically he grew up to be an a**hole. He calls himself a reporter, but acts more like he works for the National Enquirer (that's a gossip magazine for you non-Americans). He tried to throw his best friend under the bus by lying to him about wanting an interview with the Grand Nagus. Here he had genuine concerns with the fanaticism of Red Squad. When it came time for him to make a speech that could potentially save all their lives, the only words that came out of his mouth were "my dad wouldn't do it so you shouldn't either." Really? You've made a name for yourself on this ship as a punk civilian and that's your argument? No wonder they charged with Watters right off the edge.
Mon, May 16, 2011, 2:52pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Aug 26, 2011, 5:06am (UTC -5)
That Jammer can muster up the word "subtle" for a description of any facet of this episode is beyond me...others have said what needs to be said, but it should be noted that the outrage of this episode is contextually not so horrid--it is the natural outgrowth of what this series put forth. The same must be said of the crappy finale.
Tue, Sep 6, 2011, 8:47pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Sep 12, 2011, 1:28am (UTC -5)
Wed, Sep 14, 2011, 1:48pm (UTC -5)
these ppl were selected because they were amoral, loyal, and smart, not the most honest and broad minded. Admiral Leyton would not have selected them otherwise.
my disappointment stems from having never seen htat dominoin ship again. (did we?)
Tue, Oct 4, 2011, 4:20am (UTC -5)
Wed, Nov 2, 2011, 5:15pm (UTC -5)
The silliness to me, is lack of the plan not working with no explaination and everyone dying within 10 seconds of each other and yes, the extended escape scene and even them staying alive in the escape pods.
Thu, Nov 3, 2011, 12:53pm (UTC -5)
If you're referring to Wesley's friend in "The First Duty," I don't think he had anything to do with Red Squad, but some other elite group (I believe they were called "Nova Team").
Fri, Nov 4, 2011, 8:35pm (UTC -5)
I normally completely agree with Jammer's observations. Definitely not this time though. This is a strong contender for worst Star Trek ever.
I do like Jake Sisko though.
Thu, Jan 12, 2012, 8:04pm (UTC -5)
I felt much more anger and disgust toward this episode than I did dismay, as the actions portrayed by the child crew of this otherwise very nice warship reminds me very much of how kids and young adults today are treated when they are considered "special" or "elite". I fond myself putting together a very Hunter S. Thompson gonzo-esque newspaper story in my head during most of the action, just ready to rip these kids and Starfleet Academy a new one.
Mon, Apr 2, 2012, 9:13am (UTC -5)
But I just watched "Saving Private Ryan" and saw how many soldiers were killed in the first wave, and how often kids were called upon to perform in extraordinary circumstances. I only wish the deaths had not been so complete, that there had been more survivors.
Nog was the one who had the most insight at the end.
What a character arc they gave to that little Ferengi.
Wed, Apr 25, 2012, 8:49pm (UTC -5)
When we last saw (or heard of) Red Squad, they pulled a false flag attack on Earth itself so that Admiral Leyton, could take control of Earth. Is it a really a huge stretch to see them acting this way when left to their own devices? Especially in a situation they were never meant to be on their own. Their coping mechanism was to further enmesh themselves into the Red-Squad-is-better-than-everyone-ism that had been trained into them.
And now... something probably no one reading this page will understand: "When Did Stephen Ratliff become a scriptwriter for DS9?"
Fri, Apr 27, 2012, 1:16am (UTC -5)
Nova Squad was not a secret club of elite cadets, it was a team comprised of 5 top pilots. It's like any other kind of team you'd find at a school or academy, and if you made the team it was because you were an ace pilot.
Red Squad was made up of "the best of the best" cadets, whatever that means. They were given preferential treatment and special treatment in just about every way possible at the Academy.
They were also a group of cadets that were manipulated by Admiral Leyton during his coup attempt in "Paradise Lost." In fact, the security chief of the Valiant, Cadet Shepherd (who pointed a phaser at Jake and put him in the brig) was the same punk who proudly told Captain Sisko about how Red Squad secretly sabotaged Earth's power grid - an act of treason.
My point is this. Nova Squad tried an extremely risky maneuver, lost one of its teammates, and then tried to cover up the truth. Wesley Crusher eventually came clean and everyone in Nova Squadron suffered severe, well deserved consequences. End of story. Red Squad participates in a coup attempt and...what? Gets rewarded by being posted to the Valiant???
This makes NO sense whatsoever. Once the conspiracy was uncovered Red Squad should have been disbanded. End of Story. Sure, they were green cadets and unwitting pawns, but they still participated in shocking and treasonous activities. They "were just following orders," so maybe I could accept that their individual records would not be affected, but Red Squadron itself should have ceased to exist after the events of "Paradise Lost."
One other very bothersome thing - Watters' pill popping. Sure, we've seen plenty of drinking on Star Trek, but we've never seen an alcoholic or any other kind of addict. Certainly not in Starfleet. Yet "Captain" Cadet Watters is apparently addicted to some form of speed in this episode. What's worse, is that it's never even addressed. He's tired and he's been taking too many pills and the crew is a little concerned and...nothing. That, I think, IS a bridge too far for Star Trek. Especially it being a cadet. Sheesh. Section 31 in "Inquisition" and the events of "In The Pale Moonlight" were controversial, but they well thought out and well executed stories.
"Valiant" is not a horrendous episode, but it's not good either. I would have preferred to see Jake talk Nog into taking command and Nog being forced to actually do it because a) he's a commissioned officer and should have AUTOMATICALLY been able to take command, and b) Watters is unfit for command due to serious errors in judgement and, oh yeah, drug addiction.
Mon, May 7, 2012, 1:12am (UTC -5)
When I was watching “Valiant”, all I could think of was that the writers were creating a Star Trek parody and a dig at the ST fanfiction.
Think about it – a starship piloted by young adults (17-22). Star Trek has fans in all age groups, what is so special about these? Well, younger kids fantasize about serving on Enterprise, but they see themselves as adults there, having finished the Academy and with years of service behind them. Adults don’t really have such fantasies, and they are familiar with how a military is structured and operates, and have had experience making hard decisions. Now, the young adults, watching Star Trek, or playing ST videogames think: “If only I knew how to operate this technology, I could totally do this!” With an obedient crew, a good ship, some gamma torpedoes, and a clear shot, they would go against a Dominion flagship in a heartbeat.
Think of the pre-battle sequence, we have (as I remember) the only montage in DS9, all the cadets ready their weapons, pressing buttons, wearing game faces. Then, captain gives a speech that every film High School football captain gives to their team: “This is important. Nothing will ever be as important as this”. (The speech that is false).
Well, the writers tell us, fantasizers, what would happen – we’d all get killed. Horribly. Pointless.
You see, Starfleet personnel are adults. Not SciFi nerds. Sisco WORKS in Starfleet; he knows what he is doing – just like any other professional. So, please don’t think that you are so great, you can just take command and be the most awesome captain ever (“The greatest story of the Dominion War”).
Now, I didn’t draw parallels to the latest Star Trek film before I read the comments above. But, apparently, writers of that film had different ideas on how the cadets-running-the-spaceship situation will turn out. And I loved that film too! Watched in twice. You know why? Because I am a young adult as well.
Tue, May 29, 2012, 3:18pm (UTC -5)
So it's a pretty bad sign when the only thing I was thinking throughout most of this episode was "Man, I really hope that commander girl gets killed."
Sun, Jul 1, 2012, 7:34pm (UTC -5)
The Jem Hadar ship was damned impressive, though. I think that it could have taken out the valiant with about 12-15 well-placed quantum torpedoes. I should go back to see how many times the Valiant was hit before it exploded.
Sun, Sep 16, 2012, 4:42pm (UTC -5)
In "The First Duty" Wesley Crusher was not a member of Red Squad or Nova Team or Nova Squad. It was Nova Squadron.
Thu, Oct 11, 2012, 11:16pm (UTC -5)
PS. This episode sucked.
Wed, Dec 19, 2012, 9:50pm (UTC -5)
Also, A fresh out of the academy cadet gets a battlefield commission and goes head to head with a vast warship...
In reality, it's 'Valiant'
In goofy whiz-bang adventure, it's 'Abrams Trek'
Tue, Dec 25, 2012, 4:35pm (UTC -5)
In my opinion this episode would have been far better if it had been about Nog questioning whether they had the right to be able to command a ship like that as cadets with no real officers, and whether they are right to keep on the 'mission' regardless of whether the previous Captain said they should or not. Then i think some sort of resulting "mutiny" by Nog and a few other cadets to avert a suicide mission would have been good...(and some cadet slapping by Sisko at the very end of course)
But yeah, It just doesn't work in it's current form or me.
Tue, Jan 8, 2013, 6:11pm (UTC -5)
I can kind of get over the whole idea of taking cadets out for a training cruise in a Defiant-class ship. Kind of. But it would have been better if they had a different type of ship. I guess they got a Defiant-style ship for budget reasons.
I think it would have been better if they had been behind enemy lines for less time and in a more dire situation.
Finally, the guest actors left me rather flat. They weren't awful, but they didn't light up the screen either.
I've seen worse though -- like the entire third season of "Enterprise," for instance. This was flawed, not up to Season 6 standards and especially not up the story arc at the start of Season 6 or "In the Pale Moonlight," but hardly a candidate for my personal Hall of Shame for Trek episodes. Not even close. For me, it was a decent, nonmemorable DS9.
Sat, Jan 26, 2013, 6:43am (UTC -5)
The episode seems to want to leave us thinking "did they go down in a blaze of glory or were they just stupid"? That is, at least based on the conversation at the end, where Nog says to put that in Jake's story too and let the audience make up their own mind.
But everyone's reaction here to Watters is universally negative because he *fails*. I think if they had destroyed the warship but taken heavy, heavy casualties, it would have left you with more interesting questions. Of course, the terribleness of the premise makes all that a bit moot.
One other thing, why do Starfleet cadets always look 15? Red Squad is described as "as young as 17". If that's the minimum, say 21 is the maximum. Those actors might actually be 17 to 21 or even older but they always cast with an overly "youthful" look. They should look a bit more like the BSG Viper pilots sitting around playing cards, and less like 15 year olds hanging out at the mall.
What I'm getting at here is I think the casting undermines the concept. I think talented, mature 17 to 21 year olds could rise to an occasion like this in theory, but the way they're presented makes it hard to swallow.
Tue, Jan 29, 2013, 7:35pm (UTC -5)
Tue, Feb 12, 2013, 4:52pm (UTC -5)
By the way, Cirroc Lofton (Jake) must be the worst actor of the show. He can't act his way out of a wet paper bag! Only Molly manages to make me cringe more, but at least she's a child.
Fri, Mar 1, 2013, 3:04am (UTC -5)
And a lot of the cadets looked like children, not like the young man and women that you would suspect.
One of the worst Trek episodes ever.
Wed, Mar 6, 2013, 11:35am (UTC -5)
1) Cadet cruises happen in real life, as do battlefield commissions and promotions.
2) The Valiant was one of many, many Defiant-class ships in commission by that point. Allocating one of the older ones to Red Squad would not cripple a fleet full of Galaxy-class starships and the like.
3) The Valiant was on a circumnavigation of the entire Federation. It's fair to say it would have been pretty stocked up with supplies, and in any event had a skeleton crew so could eke out what resources it had via the replicators.
4) As for why it stayed behind enemy lines, it's limited to Warp 3.2 at the start of the episode. The Jem'Hadar would have blown it apart before it got close to DS9. Staying below the radar is what a lot of soldiers did in the Second World War until an opportunity to reach neutral territory presented itself.
Also, the most recent point about Nog being outranked: battlefield commissions take full effect unless subsequently rescinded. See the Maquis in Voyager for example. It may bring about absurd results at times, but it's not "totally unbelievable". No more than Kirk being promoted such in ST '09, at any rate.
I wouldn't say this is one of Trek's finest hours by any stretch of the imagination, but I don't think it's quite deserving of the vitriol directed towards it here. Especially considering the episode which came after it...
Wed, Mar 6, 2013, 12:45pm (UTC -5)
Sat, Sep 21, 2013, 11:11pm (UTC -5)
Sat, Sep 21, 2013, 11:14pm (UTC -5)
Sun, Sep 22, 2013, 12:29am (UTC -5)
Yes, you are correct that the cadet-control was not an oversight by the writers.
No, you are not correct that an episode which sparks "controversy" is inherently good (or at even "not bad")--see this franchise's "Threshold" for a nearby example.
This episode is bottom-of-the-barrel for Trek. Bad ideas, bad characters, bad acting, bad messages. Just bad.
Sat, Nov 2, 2013, 2:38pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Dec 19, 2013, 12:45am (UTC -5)
Did I mention that putting the Red Squad in the arrogant position is just predictable as it can be? Oh yes, and what about screaming "Red Squad" in chorus when someone gives one very single (stupid, that's true, but whatever) contradictory speech?
I can't even believe I just wrote that. "Red Squad", "Red Squad", "Red Squad". It's not only one of the worst episodes in the whole Trek ever, but it is a new step in the recent strong moves of DS9 to dis-construct what all Trek medias have defined before as being the Federation and Starfleet.
In the end, it may be chocking that Jammer has used a "Pretty strong" to summarize his feelings about this one. But well, it turns out that it makes sense: for me, very strong this episode really is, only that I mean very strong punch in the inner of my head.
Mon, Dec 23, 2013, 8:58pm (UTC -5)
This has nothing to do with humanity of Star Trek that has outgrown its petty need for proving something to others and the sheer arogance manifested by most of the crew. Maybe they were intented to be shown as noble people with a difficult task on their hands, but I the only impression I got was that they were a bunch of monkeys too drunk on their power and the importance of the Red Squad membership.
Also I find it interesting that Jake, who was not even a starfleet officer, was the only voice of reason onboard. When he said what his father would've done in their shoes only made me realize even more how stupid they were (not that I needed any help).
Once captain Ramirez had died, "captain" Waters should've taken the Valiant back home. I don't buy all the "we're helping milions of people by ultimately getting ourselves killed" crap for a second. So the only reason why that did it was to show how great they were because they happened to be given a ship they shouldn't have gotten in the first place.
And weren't there Vulcans onboard? If the rest was that dumb, one would say that they would've said something to that idiotic plan. You don't have to tell me that it's not a nice to want to see a Federation starship destroyed but it was the highlight of the show for me when I saw the Valiant crumbling into pieces.
Oh and one more thing, what the hell was wrong with that "first-officer-super-bitch"? It was like the writers had to make a character which would be made of everything what was wrong with the crew. It was more like a spoiled-I-gotta-have-everything girl that spends her time hanging around malls gossiping than a starfleet officer of the 24th century. I think that if Gene could see this episode, he'd turn in his grave.
Maybe my review is a little harsh, but in my opinion, this can't be Star Trek due to the qualities (or lack of) of the people who should be one of the best that humanity has to offer.
Sat, Dec 28, 2013, 3:33pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Jan 6, 2014, 4:05pm (UTC -5)
It's perfectly plausible to have a crew of cadets, just not on a state of the art warship. Starfleet needed all the ships it could get for the war, but there were still other missions that needed to be done. Starfleet would likely have activated the mothball fleet, outdated ships that that had been decommissioned but could be brought back into service if needed. Activating these ships would free other ships for the front lines, and the ships doing "milk runs" could be crewed by cadets.
Were they brave or foolish? They were both. They let their sense of elitism override good sense. The "captain" seemed like a tin-plated dictator with delusions of godhood. Threatening Jake for simply speaking to one the crew about home is not the act of a leader, but of someone desperately in over his head. When you think you're that elite, it must be grating to have to wait to have your greatness acknowledged. And suddenly the opportunity to be in charge presents itself. Return home, and the ship gets taken away, I can see it being very tempting to use any excuse to stay out there.
The last time we saw Red Squad, they were engaged in treasonous acts. I imagine they were duped into it. We don't know how they were told, what manipulation was involved. Red Squad is the sort of thing you get when accountability, oversight and chain of command are thrown out the window. It's not something that happens at real academies, but it could exist if you didn't have oversight. When people outside of the academy can break the chain of command to give clandestine orders to a squad in the academy, it's open to abuse.
I think the ending might have been better if the ship had been rescued and they had to eat some crow, and take off the pips. It's a decent episode, I find the episode itself plausible, while I don't find the excuses the "captain" used to be plausible. That is, I find it perfectly plausible that the captain used implausible excuses.
Fri, Jan 17, 2014, 1:05pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Jan 20, 2014, 3:46pm (UTC -5)
But, damn it, never quite so badly!
I absolutely cannot see how Jammer could've possibly come to his appraisal, considering that he is usually rather critical, looking at the big picture, trying to understand characters and the way they are depicted on screen. Arguments which have been pointed out repeatedly in so many comments. Eludes me!
Tue, Feb 25, 2014, 11:12am (UTC -5)
It's pretty hard to swallow that the Dominion wouldn't have found the Valiant in eight months and destroyed it. This episode might have worked better earlier in the season/war, but eight months? So much for the Jem Hadar being an effective killing force.
Beyond that, why is a Jem Hadar warship, apparently under construction, just hanging in space relatively close to the Federation border? Shouldn't the ship be in a more secure location?
This episode is a good use of Jake and Nog -- and I liked Watters for most of the episode. But his line that "We're Red Squad! We can do anything!" just went way over the line and kills the believability that he was up to getting the Valiant crew through eight months behind enemy lines.
Fri, Mar 28, 2014, 4:27am (UTC -5)
My more important complaint is with the ep's essential dishonesty. I felt I was being led by the hand to side with Jake and agree that the young captain was clearly a nut because he was risking his crew on a dangerous mission with a slim chance of success. (Even Nog endorses this view in the end.). But that is sheer manipulation. Fact: week after week on DS9 (and every other action series, in every war movie, etc). , this exact trope is played heroically. The guys who are willing to give their lives to destroy an enemy -- who volunteer for a daring suicide raid -- are shown as Big Damn Heroes. Even if they fail, even if they die, we still esteem them for risking all and making the big sacrifice. And why? Because they are the main characters. Here, they are not. That's the only difference I see.
This would have been a much better show had it actually been even-handed. The Lord of the Flies elements could have been toned down, and the ending could have Jake and Nog still disagreeing about whether the captain's choice was right or wrong. Nog could have made a reasoned argument in his defense. He could have talked about all the adult-run ships that have thrown themselves against the Dominion and been decimated, how war involves risk and sometimes gambles fail and soldiers are trained to accept this. Jake could have disagreed. We could have pondered and made up our own minds. That would have been an honest story.
Fri, Apr 4, 2014, 12:29pm (UTC -5)
Then comes Nog who's on the bridge in almost any Defiant related episode, right there in thick of the action and getting all kinds of bullets on his resume. I call grade A bullshit on that. Nog needs to go back to the academy where he belongs and work his way up the ranks just like everyone else.
Thu, Apr 24, 2014, 5:54pm (UTC -5)
Thu, May 8, 2014, 6:38pm (UTC -5)
I understand what this episode is trying to convey as far as blind patriotism, hive-mind mentality, and inexperience coupled with faulty arrogance. But a good message doesn't make a good episode. What we know of how Starfleet operates doesn't fit with the plot shown here. Not only that, but it is a completely illogical turn of events on many levels. Most of which has already been posted in previous comments.
Only good parts are a few lines of actually nicely written dialogue and the episodes technical payoff.
This episode doesn't simply falter; it trips and falls against the concrete...hard. It then wakes up in the hospital wishing it all a nightmare, while being handed a mysterious sandwich...
First major stumble of the season.
Sat, May 10, 2014, 9:30pm (UTC -5)
Sat, May 10, 2014, 9:36pm (UTC -5)
Sat, Jun 14, 2014, 2:42am (UTC -5)
Sat, Jul 26, 2014, 11:44pm (UTC -5)
We've already seen Red Squad as this very elite group that's extremely loyal to each other. The label of "Red Squad" was a big deal. It's like someone's loyalty to a sports team. Or the school they went to. Only much stronger. They feel like they belong to something and have a massive amount of respect for each other. Red Squad has that loyalty, but much much stronger since they all believed that they were the best of the best and having that label of "Red Squad" meant they were somebody.
When you combine those two aspects together: being out in the battlefield for so long, feeling the pressure and the massive in-group loyalty, you can see why this sort of system existed.
Wed, Aug 20, 2014, 1:20pm (UTC -5)
I don't for a second believe the dying Captain told or even hinted to Watters to complete the mission. His order would have been "get out of here, go to..."
I don't for a second believe that even if the dying Captain only told Watters to take command, that the crew would have blindly just followed him on this stupid quest. Especially for 8 MONTHS!!
I don't for a second believe that a ship limited to wap 3.X with no cloak survives for 8 months.
I don't for a second believe Watter's little talk with Jake was meant as anything but a method to his madness. He needed Jake to shut up.
I don't believe for a second that a group of anyone would support going after this monstrosity of a battleship.
Nog, while in character here (not correct, but in character), was fine I thought up until he supported attacking the battleship. Not even Nog is that naive.
"NOG: He may have been a hero. He may even have been a great man. But in the end he was a bad captain."
I don't think he was any of the above Nog. I think you and the cadets were stupid and enabled Watters and I think you owe a big apology to Jake.
Watters might have been sincere, or he might have been nuts, but someone’s clearer head should have prevailed. Officers don't blindly follow orders, they are there to question as well. How many times has Sisko be respectfully questioned by his officers? All the time.
.5 stars because the XO was cute.
Wed, Aug 27, 2014, 3:16pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Sep 19, 2014, 11:23pm (UTC -5)
"What's going on, Mister Sisko, *in case you haven't noticed*, is that *we* are in the middle of a *war*," she says, delivering the line with the gravitas of an elementary-school know-it-all. "I don't remember anyone inviting *you* to the bridge," she tells Jake in another scene as if speaking to her annoying little brother. Ridiculous!
The people on that ship are mostly caricatures of young and eager cadets. A terrible episode, although certainly not the worst.
Sun, Oct 12, 2014, 11:38pm (UTC -5)
-Nog. A really good use of the character. We saw how much he wanted to join Red Squad back in S4, so it's nice to see him faced up with his old role models and... well, try to "make it" this time. I don't think Nog was completely blinded, but the drive towards being in a club he'd never been able to join is part of what makes his role in this one interesting.
-Jake. Making Jake Nog's foil probably strengthened Nog's resolve to go along with Red Squad's BS - he just doesn't seem to respect Jake anymore. But who would, in his situation? I have nothing against Jake, but it's very easy to see military cadets serving in wartime seeing someone their own age - the son of a current hero, no less - who isn't contributing as a hanger-on. Indeed, Watters almost out and out says it when he meets Jake.
-Watching the tides turn on the Valiant crew is actually pretty compelling. Unlike whoever conceived tripe like 'The Magnificent Ferengi', Moore doesn't put the idiot hat on the Dominion for the sake of an hour's entertainment. The achilles heel in the battleship is a really well done red herring, showing off how RS have become so damned overconfident that they think a day's analysis is equal to Starfleet Command's technical and tactical expertise. Did they even get the data back to Earth - the data on which the entire mission was based?
-Red Squad. For most prohibitively arrogant people, personal achievement is an end in itself; the big picture is only a game to be played and won. Was the helm the same slappable douche the Sisko grills in "Homefront"? If so, it's a nice bit of continuity. A scene with Nog might have been nice, though.
-I've said it before, but Jammer mentions it outright in this review: this series wastes way too many scenes to get all its actors in an episode at once. I appreciate the attempt at making the station feel more lived in than just the plot of the episode, but the teaser with Odo, Dax, and Quark just had no relevance at all.
Anyway, this one's a strong 3 stars for me. I'll take the heat for it, sure.
Wed, Oct 15, 2014, 8:50pm (UTC -5)
Was it a success? I'd say no. The plot was entirely predictable. The 'child' soldiers on the ship were overly smart brainwashed automatons who were obviously doomed. Imagine the fallout in the Federation if it was discovered children were being used as cannon fodder behind enemy lines?
Yes, I realize DS9 (and this season 6) did its best to show how depraved and fallen the Federation had become, sacrificing its once prized ideals to battle an even worse enemy. I get it...but that doesn't the exercise good entertainment. That the Valient serendipitously blows up at the end is as good a deus ex machina than any prophet 'worm hole' could conjure up. Blowing up the ship also neatly avoids any and all moralizing or deeper implications for what just occurred. Overall, weak Trek on all counts.
--- as a contrast, compare STOS episode, Miri - wherein nearly feral children commit horrible bloody murder, but face the consequences of their actions, while also maintaining their humanity. This DS9 episode has no such payoff. 2 stars.
Wed, Jan 7, 2015, 7:58am (UTC -5)
Mon, Feb 16, 2015, 9:28pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Mar 2, 2015, 8:56pm (UTC -5)
Also the fact that the Vulcan cadets just agree with what's happening. What happened to logic? If it had been any other species then fine, but Vulcans? Like someone mentioned above, I almost cheered when the Valiant exploded.
Guess in a way, the directors succeeded in this episode, since they obviously evoked such strong feelings in the audience.
Also I have to echo an earlier poster that "The existence of an "elite of the elite" organization WITHIN Starfleet bothers me more than Section 31." Same for Nick Locarno's Nova Squadron or whatever it was called. Section 31 really played the shades of grey issue much better. They asked the audience to consider how much was "too far" in a war, in the same way Garak did in 'In the Pale Moonlight.' All this episode did was to make me ask why the "best and brightest" of Starfleet were a bunch of arrogant, bigheaded and megalomaniac a**es.
The lack of closure at the end also really irritated me. I have a feeling that a lot less people would have disliked this episode as much, if we'd been shown a scene of Sisko firmly dressing down Nog or that Red Squad girl, or even Nog apologising to Jake and admitting that he was right. Instead Nog keeps on getting promoted and pulls off stunts that apparently half the senior VOY crew can't... Never could swallow that. I also agree with a previous comment that Nog is DS9's Wesley Crusher. At the end of season 7, he ends up as a Lietenant. REALLY?
Sun, Mar 8, 2015, 3:34am (UTC -5)
Wed, Mar 11, 2015, 10:16pm (UTC -5)
If they'd ever returned to Federation space, their reckless actions and desire for flyboy glory almost certainly would have gotten a lot of people killed and jeopardised the entire Dominion War for the Allies. What this episode's trying to convey, as I see it, is that there isn't really any "glory" in battle. It was pretty clear that these kids were doing it mostly for the glamour factor, and they'd let their identities as Red Squad members go to their heads, at a fatal price.
Mon, Mar 16, 2015, 6:56am (UTC -5)
DS9 is at its best exploring the grey zones. This episode was too lopsided.
Thu, Mar 26, 2015, 10:09pm (UTC -5)
Tue, Jul 21, 2015, 10:05pm (UTC -5)
I didn't find it at all unrealistic that Ramirez gave his best and most experienced cadet the battlefield commission of Captain. The ranking officer on a ship was always considered the captain to his/her crew and he had to leave someone in charge.
As for Nog not taking over it could be either that he had also received a battlefield promotion to ensign (he had only been at SFA 2 years) and did not outrank Watters or that even if he technically did outrank him, his own inexperience, Watters having lead the Valiant for 8 months and the sort of cult of personality around him would have made that impractical.
There is no doubt Worf, Dax or even O'Brien would have immediately taken command in Nog's spot.
I thought Watters was a heroic cadet, who kept his crew together against impossible odds, but ultimately failed to recognize his own limitations and those of his crew and got them killed.
I also think having an understandably weak First Officer enabled his demise. An experienced one would have demanded that he get some sleep and stop popping pills and threatened to relieve him of duty if he did not. But, like Watters, she was thrown into a situation where she was in over her head.
I thought it was a bit unrealistic how harsh she was with Jake over his harmless conversation with Collins.
I understood why Watters wanted to separate him from Nog after the conversation in the engine room. Jake was going way out of line there and interfering. That said, having the 2 security officers take him to the brig at phaser point was absurd.
If they ever made it back to the Federation, Captain Sisko would have had Watters and his 2 goons cleaning out DS9's waste extraction system with toothbrushes for the next year for that. Confining him to quarters would be the realistic response.
Thu, Jul 30, 2015, 3:10pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Jul 30, 2015, 7:48pm (UTC -5)
Well I guess they were sort of like the Nazis, without the racism, anti-Semitism, concentration camps, gas chambers, desire for global domination etc, etc.
Come on, they weren't anything like Nazis. They were generally good, very courageous young people fighting for a noble cause under extremely difficult circumstances.
Their fatal flaws were that they became arrogant and overestimated their own abilities and that they allowed their undestandable admiration of Watters to cloud their judgement and lead them to follow him blindly.
Sat, Aug 1, 2015, 7:43am (UTC -5)
The plot also. What happened to that message to the Grand Nagus? Why that opening montage? What happened to the 8 month's mission results? It's all a waste? So what's the contribution of this 'dramatic' episode to the storyline? Absolutely nothing!
Thu, Aug 6, 2015, 9:02pm (UTC -5)
I am talking about how a human will give up his/her individuality to feel superior. That was one part of Nazism. Certainly not all of it.
And they were discrimatory against Jake, simply because he didn't share the same views. They locked him up.
Tue, Dec 1, 2015, 6:16pm (UTC -5)
The surprise isn't that these kids were destroyed, it's that they survived out there as long as they did. Red Squad seem to be a cadre of privileged "elite" cadets who think they're really special and can do anything. But the truth is, their entitlement and arrogance makes them a liability to themselves and the Federation. We saw that plainly here, and in Homefront and Paradise Lost as well. That's what this episode is about. Not fascism.
Wed, Dec 2, 2015, 2:48pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Dec 17, 2015, 2:37pm (UTC -5)
Sat, Feb 6, 2016, 12:46pm (UTC -5)
The guest performances weren't great across the board, and what was with the pre-credit scene? Did that come from another episode or something?
Some nice VFX at least. 1.5 stars.
Fri, Feb 19, 2016, 8:47pm (UTC -5)
Sun, Feb 21, 2016, 9:16am (UTC -5)
It does occur to me that it's a pretty rough situation if there *were* any members of the crew who saw how screwed they were, and how obviously unhinged they were. It's not exactly easy to mutiny. If Collins or whoever recognized that they were pretty definitely going to die by going after the Jem'Hadar ship, or chafed at the level of implicit (at first) and later explicit censorship of thought or subject (no thinking about home! ever!) what exactly could she do? I suspect that the thoughtlessness of RS's attitude is probably an adaptation to the circumstances, since it really would be basically impossible to stop Watters if he has the majority of the crew on his side. And that's an interesting idea to explore, which I would tend to say is not. Collins is the crew member who has the *most* evidence of thought independent of Watters, and she declares him a Great Man at the end, so that's that.
What I will say is that for the crew to survive so long behind enemy lines does seem pretty remarkable, to the point where I guess we really are meant to see Red Squad as Really, Really Extraordinary. Maybe Watters' intense implicit censorship (his locking up Jake as quickly as he does really does suggest that he would have cracked down quickly if anyone spoke seriously against him) and charisma and the ship's elite crew did somehow keep the ship going. If this were believable, and we got a sense of how they did this besides gusto and enthusiasm, the episode's tragedy might come through okay. Still, you know, it's one hell of a bold claim that the Valiant could survive eight months behind enemy lines with no cloak and (at least for the last little while) a maximum speed of Warp 3.2, based on those class III probes which masked their signature (which is not used regularly because...), and I don't buy it.
The real open question then is why Nog falls for Red Squad so badly; some of it is certainly that he wanted to be a part of them back in "Homefront"/"Paradise Lost." But I dunno, he has since worked on DS9 and the actual Defiant with actual officers. Can he not tell the difference? That he finds Jake's lack of commitment to duty frustrating builds on some of their previous interactions, but he should surely recognize that Watters' pill problem is an issue or that Jake should be able to speak to whoever he wants (if not necessarily while they're on duty). Before the opening to s6, I could see Nog's gung-ho-ness leading him into this spot, but he's been on real missions, and been behind enemy lines before. He should know that after months away from being refit, Sisko would get the Defiant out of there with its information rather than try to do everything himself.
The acting and writing is totally unconvincing and the episode makes a full case that it doesn't need to. It is pretty bad. I think 1 star.
Sun, Feb 21, 2016, 9:18am (UTC -5)
Mon, Mar 21, 2016, 1:20pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Apr 28, 2016, 3:40pm (UTC -5)
The Captain taking stims barely scratches the surface, although it does bespeak the fact that he needs to control everything and won't go to sleep. What becomes very alarming is when they tell Jake to avoid talking with the crew; that's when we ought to realize that something sinister is afoot. In time we learn that the ship is not being operated under Federation principles, as it is little more than a dictatorship with a very charismatic leader. The Captain's EXO is evidence of this, as she must enforce his law while he can play being the good guy. Once they put Jake in prison for saying his opinion we can pretty well realize this may as well be a Cardassian ship. We're shown just enough to make us realize that this ship has been a dictatorship all along, since we're told rather quickly that the crew is apparently forbidden to cry or express emotion of any kind (let alone dissent). It's unlikely that most of the cadets would have ever agreed to stay behind enemy lines for 8 months if they hadn't essentially been forced into it. Should we have any doubts that the Captain's choices for senior staff were probably those who would be most loyal to him? Note the lack of senior officers around willing to challenge his decisions.
I think the crux of what we're supposed to understand about this crew is spoken by Jake in the mess hall during the Hitler Youth meeting (which is what it is). When he tells them, correctly, that a decorated hero like his father would never do something this reckless, he was dead-on correct, period end of story. There is not anything controversial about it. The only thing that IS confusing is that the Captain is so damned confident and charming that we want to believe him, which puts him about in the same place as Dukat in terms of how much his charisma ought to inspire our trust.
When Collins, at the end, says that her Captain was a great man, we're supposed to be looking at a child evaluating her big-brother type mentor who just got her entire class killed for no reason and who lost the Federation a battleship during wartime. She is basically in shock, a total basket case, and still suffering from cognitive dissonance delusions about the rightness of what Red Squad was doing. That Nog (and the director) gave her statement any credence was probably a mistake on the part of the script, because it had none whatsoever.
Overall I see this entertaining tale as being about the dangers of introducing young people to a militant education. It can turn bright young stars into little dictators and make them think they're some kind of superior race like Khan and his people. Did anyone watching the episode note the similarity of the pride and sense of superiority Red Squad exhibits and compare this to the Jem'Hadar, who have also been taught that they're a superior race? I think it's no accident. The episode strikes me as being both about the dangers of training young people to be proud killers, as well as the horrors of war in general where the young generation inevitably is the one thrown into the fray and damaged irreparably because of it (see: Full Metal Jacket).
Mon, May 2, 2016, 11:46am (UTC -5)
Wed, May 4, 2016, 8:45am (UTC -5)
Fri, Jun 3, 2016, 3:51am (UTC -5)
William B and Peter G. have basically said everything that needs to be said here, but I'll still ramble on. :-P There is absolutely no ambiguity here at all. Red Squad was indeed a group of "delusional fanatics looking for martyrdom." Or, maybe better put, they were fanatics with delusions of godhood. About the only thing "Valiant" has going in it's favor (aside from the acting by Lofton, Eisenberg and McDonogh - Collins), which I will give it credit for, is that it shows the utter failings of AbramsTrek and it's desire to have cadets running the show with next to no problems.
I will say that I'm glad the original idea for the episode was scraped in favor of what we ended up getting. At first, it was planned for this to be a Jake and Kira story, not a Jake and Nog one. Jake would be the one to be taken in by Watters and his Red Squad crew while Kira served as the voice of reason. Having Nog be the one taken in makes little sense as it is (shouldn't he know better since he's, you know, an actual officer?!), but having Jake be taken in by these fools makes no sense at all. And can you imagine Watters and Farris (the XO with a stick shoved so fully up her ass that the tip must be behind her breasts) trying to pull that nonsense in the Ready Room on Kira? The moment these little pipsqueaks pulled phasers on her and tried to put her in the brig, you know what would happen? I'll tell you what would happen - they would all very quickly find those phasers wedged firmly up their urethrae as they sat crowded with the rest of Red Squad in that tiny brig while Kira single-handedly piloted the ship back to DS9 with Watters crying in a corner like the little bitch he was.
As an aside - exactly how did Red Squad manage to stay in the academy in the first place? Aren't these the same people who helped Admiral Leyton commit acts of treason against the Federation?! I suppose you could say that Leyton took the fall alone in order to protect everyone else involved, but it would have been nice to have some explanation. This is what makes Nog being taken in by Watters so easily so absurd. Nog knows they were involved in Leyton's attempted coup. What the hell is he doing working with these people?!
But what really blows my mind about "Valiant" is that we spend the entire episode seeing EXACTLY how Red Squad is off the reservation. The crew isn't allowed to talk about home, they aren't allowed to cry, they aren't allowed to dissent, Watters is a clear dictator who likes to have his second-in-command play bad-cop so he can be the good-cop (remind anybody of someone else, like - oh, I don't know - DUKAT?!), Watters spies on the crew, they tell Jake to watch events unfold and then get pissy when he does, Watters is a damn drug addict (who gets aggressive even someone dares to even fucking notice his habit), etc. But then we end the episode with the sole surviving member of Red Squad, Collins, saying that Watters was a great man and fully drinking the Kool Aid. Huh?! I suppose you could say she was suffering from some kind of PTSD, but we get no indication of that. We even have Nog continuing to give credence to Watters and his delusional idiocy by telling Jake to put the Red Squad view in his story. *facepalm*
Oh, and of course there's the opening scene in Quark's Bar which serves no other purpose than to shit on Quark again. I honestly thought we were done doing this - at least outside of Ferengi "comedy" episodes. They have been treating Quark with a fair amount of respect this season, even having him be instrumental in saving the Alpha Quadrant in "Sacrifice of Angels". Now, when Odo realizes that Quark is in love with Dax, what do we get? Quark's face rubbed in shit for no reason. Anybody remember episodes like "Crossfire" and "His Way", when Quark went out of his way to help Odo with his feelings for Kira. While, in order to repay those kindnesses, the writers have Odo just laugh in Quark's face about his romantic problems concerning Dax. *groan!*
And so ends another record-breaking stretch of above-average episodes. We haven't had an episode that wasn't above-average since Season Five's "Children of Time". That's 26 episodes! A full season's worth! Talk about impressive. It's a shame it had to end, especially with such a dud as "Valiant". And it only gets worse with the next episode, doesn't it?!
Fri, Jun 3, 2016, 6:42am (UTC -5)
Fri, Jun 3, 2016, 10:00am (UTC -5)
I was under the impression that all the members of Red Squad may have gotten expelled for their actions in "Homefront" but Red Squad itself was populated with fresh new cadets (maybe it's because different actors were used?).
As for your broader review that there's no ambiguity in this episode, I would point to the fact that Watters and crew *did* successfully defeat a Cardassian battle cruiser and carry out a mission to collect data on a dangerous Dominion ship. In the end they were overconfident, but at least they had some reason to be.
Fri, Jun 3, 2016, 10:29am (UTC -5)
Fri, Jun 3, 2016, 10:38am (UTC -5)
Thanks, that clears it up. It's funny that they wanted the actors there but made no effort to connect the characters to "Homefront".
Tue, Sep 20, 2016, 12:31am (UTC -5)
Fri, Nov 11, 2016, 7:43am (UTC -5)
Sat, Jan 28, 2017, 4:30pm (UTC -5)
The young captain telling Jake not to participate was cringe worthy and downright nonsensical. Reporters talk to soldiers in war time as long as reporters in war time have existed. That's not like Jake acting like he can run engineering he's simply asking if somebody thinks of home. Seriously CNN and NatGeo would ask similar questions.
Secondly that captain remirez would seriously tell the cadets "to continue the mission" not "get your asses home asap". Is just unbelievable and stupid.
Sat, Jan 28, 2017, 4:55pm (UTC -5)
I think you need to consider that the episode is told from multiple point of view, especially those of Jake and Nog. What you're seeing isn't a balanced account of reality. In my opinion the episode is about fascist mentality and how it can warp perception like the Hitler Youth did. Jake's perspective is therefore "Federation" while Nog's is that of those drinking the Kool Aid. I believe you should interpret the Captain's actions from that perspective, in which case, yes, what he told Jake was outrageous, and yet scarily believable.
Regarding Captain Ramirez, my guess would be that the story about receiving the order to continue the mission was a complete fabrication and that the Captain and his XO were lying to the crew about it. He was enough of a megalomaniac to say anything it took to take command and not give it up. The end of the story isn't some piece of misfortune but was rather the inevitable outcome for that ship.
Sun, Jan 29, 2017, 5:38pm (UTC -5)
Sun, Jan 29, 2017, 5:54pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Apr 4, 2014, 12:29pm (UTC -6)
Ah yes, Nog. DS9's version of Wesley Crusher. Does anyone else get irked by how much the producers focus on this little fucker?
HAHAHAHA! YES! ME!
Nog is by far the most annoying and useless and shoehorned character in DS9. He's just there to give the actor a job. I can't stand any scene he is in - and the writing for the character is piss poor!
Mon, Jan 30, 2017, 1:11pm (UTC -5)
Rom and Leeta appreciate your endorsement. And Vic Fontaine.
Sat, Feb 18, 2017, 11:34am (UTC -5)
You've hit the main reason why I thought this was a ship full of absolute dickheads.
As for stars, I actually though the half-star-rated "Demon" (I'm watching Voyager concurrently) was at least the equal of this over-rated episode...
Fri, Mar 17, 2017, 2:30pm (UTC -5)
Rewatched this again after two years to see if Nog was as annoying and unrepentant as I remembered. Yup, confirmed. Also that Dorian girl irritated me too in her last scene, where she's still in blatant denial about Red Squad and the megalomaniac captain. I still think we should have gotten a scene where Sisko heartily dresses down the two of them.
And if I were in Jake's shoes I would never have spoken to Nog again, seeing as his foolhardiness/need to be accepted in Red Squad/repeated denial very nearly got Jake killed. However near-death experiences do seem to be a common occurrence on DS9, so Jake's probably used to it by now.
Mon, Mar 20, 2017, 3:04pm (UTC -5)
Why was everyone white? And either human or Vulcan?
Weird to think of the fallout from the best and the brightest of the Star Fleet class of 2417, or whatever, being killed. Who will they have to promote to Admiral in 30 years?
Since they have been behind enemy lines since the war started and maintaining radio silence, they actually have no idea what is going on in the universe. For all they know a peace treaty has been negotiated. Now I'm picturing the Gilligan's Island episode where they found the Japanese guy who thought he was still fighting World War II.
It also reminded me of the episode in an early season where Sisko and O'brien get trapped on a utopia planet where the crazy leader has rigged it so no one can escape and they all have to live as subsistence farmers.
The main point of the show is that judgment takes time to develop. But it's interesting that the same is not true of technical skills. Anyone with a couple of years of college can apparently operate a starship or be a doctor.
The one woman who lived -- her survivor's guilt/PTSD will be unbearable. I assume she will spend the rest of her life growing orchids and baking bread.
Why does electricity always seem to arc out of control panels to officers on the bridge? Does the electricity have a brain? Is it trying to kill them?
Thu, Mar 23, 2017, 1:04pm (UTC -5)
Uhmm was that the Voyager episode where they found Amelia Earhart? 'The 37s' I think it was called.
Fri, Apr 14, 2017, 11:28pm (UTC -5)
Sat, May 20, 2017, 9:04pm (UTC -5)
Also, Jake-o has grown up to be quite the A-hole. No wonder his dad seemed to have resigned himself to letting the prophets kill him in the last episode.
Sun, Jul 9, 2017, 3:08pm (UTC -5)
No he is talking about Gilligan's Island like he said
Tue, Jul 11, 2017, 12:01am (UTC -5)
Kind of an intriguing idea to come across a ship manned by teenagers, but the war-time plot makes it too unsupportable and unbelievable. Also, much of the Valiant crew's dialogue was waaaaay to mature and uncharacteristic of teenagers--even mature elite military teenagers. It seemed written for mini adults. Very stilted mini adults.
Also, I was looking forward to seeing Jake squelch around Ferenginar, so I'm kind of sad they never got there.
Mon, Jul 17, 2017, 9:39pm (UTC -5)
Tue, Jul 18, 2017, 4:38am (UTC -5)
1) Red Squad exists = fact.
As we saw in Paradise Lost, Red Squad is not only allowed to exist (I believe all "elite" groups within groups are destructive) but they are given more than extra drills and training, they are given covert missions.
It's a travesty that Starfleet Academy allows this because despite all the checks and balances you put in place, an elite group within a group fosters hubris and divided loyalty.
2) Red Squad got to be on the Valiant under close watch of senior officers = fact.
This is where a lot of you haters of the episode get it twisted.
I don't doubt that Watters was promoted to field captain by the last dying member of the senior staff but I think that was only done to inspire Watters to get the Valiant back to the nearest Starbase by putting the burden of his classmates on his shoulders.
But did Watters do that? No. He decided of his own volition to rally the troops and keep the Valiant flying on a recon mission.
It's highly likely that in the beginning his classmates would've broken down and begged for an immediate return but both the "faux-promotions" of their new "captain" coupled with the peer pressure of not failing Red Squad (ie- "maybe you're not Red Squad material after all") would've brought them quickly in line.
Watters has parallels to Stalin here. When Stalin took power, everybody knew Trotsky was next in line to succeed Lenin but Stalin had charisma and fear on his side and everybody fell in line.
3) could these youngsters run a ship after 8 months?
Yes, yes they could. Kids their age fought in both great wars and it forces you to grow up mighty quick. These kids were the best of the academy, 6 months would've turned all that theory into somewhat competent practical skills.
As can be seen by the warp issue, there's only so far they could go but they had the second most dangerous ship in Starfleet at their command (only second to the Defiant because the Valiant is the "vanilla version" and lacks the cloaking device).
This was a wonderful episode about the dangerous of elite groups within groups and about child soldiers.
3&1/2 stars - watch it again and watch it closely.
Tue, Jul 18, 2017, 5:41am (UTC -5)
Tue, Jul 18, 2017, 10:33am (UTC -5)
I think so, I always read them as college juniors or seniors which would place them in the 20 ~ 21 range. And if Wesley Crusher exemplifies them, they're probably all child prodigies to begin with.
Wed, Jul 26, 2017, 11:55pm (UTC -5)
After all, they are trying to get off the ship as quickly as possible. So Nog doesn't have time to give Jake a detailed explanation about what happened.
"We failed" is concise and to the point.
Fri, Aug 18, 2017, 11:50pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Aug 24, 2017, 6:54pm (UTC -5)
A lot of people seem to be taking Watters' story of what happened with Cpt. Ramirez at face value.
For all we know Ramirez just told Watters with his dying breath, "Get the ship home, take command..." and no one was really close enough to hear what he said clearly except Watters, who decided to live out his Captain fantasy instead of taking the ship home. That wouldn't be out of character for him based on what we see in this episode.
Call it speculation if you like, but we are never shown what really happened with Ramirez so to blame the writers for what could be a lie by Watters is silly.
Sat, Sep 16, 2017, 1:51pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Nov 16, 2017, 4:31pm (UTC -5)
The problem is the whole Red Squad thing -- seems every time some elite cadets are featured in a Trek episode, they manage to screw up big time. And I laughed when they all chanted "Red Squad, Red Squad..."
Capt. Watters displays poor judgment going after a big Dominion ship and he seems to make these command decisions rather too summarily -- just going on hope rather than really technically studying the problem. Jake plays an important role here saying what Ben Sisko would do, although one can see why the pompous Red Squad would ignore him. Putting him in the brig was excessive.
Nog looks at the Valiant crew with rose-colored glasses -- good conflict between Jake and Nog about the crew. Here it's serious unlike some of their prior childish conflicts. Also good to see in the end how Nog's attitude has changed after the experience -- he very easily realized he could be dead and that Watters was a bad captain.
I liked the role of the young officer who treats Jake -- shows how green she is missing home, crying. But the first officer girl was super-wooden and rigid -- quite annoying, but perhaps meant to be the super-military type in Red Squad.
And what was most of the teaser for? Showing Dax cleaning up Quark's drink replicator while he stares at her married ass?
A strong 2.5 stars for "Valiant" -- a bit contrived on how the Red Squad got control of the Valiant for 8 months and not contacting Star Fleet. I can't see anybody else in their right mind going after the Dominion ship, but the lesson is well-taken and executed, albeit quite costly.
Fri, Dec 22, 2017, 6:53am (UTC -5)
In conclusion, I agree with all pointed out by others before me, one of the worst episodes in ST history, just above the holodeck/suit episodes (and of course, Threshold...)
Tue, Jan 16, 2018, 12:26am (UTC -5)
Let's see, where to begin? Ah, with the last message of the Dominion vessel: Attacked by Federation warship... *boom*. And 8 months strained credulity for me. Perhaps if they were hiding in an asteroid field or something. I realize there are less ships behind the lines in open space, but Nog/Jake crossed the line into Dominion territory in no time. I'd think the Valiant would've been spotted before this, perhaps by the Dominion raiding party that was going to attack the Starbase (which, thinking again, must have been pretty close to the border). Oh, and if some of the Dominion ships survived their attack on the station, wouldn't they have gone looking for their other ship, or find what destroyed it? (Hopefully they scuttled the runabout, it hadn't blown up yet, had it?)
Didn't they say in an earlier episode that two officers are required for any mission? Especially one to see the Nagus...
Heh, Watters gets a battlefield promotion, and then it's battlefield promotions for Everyone!
I really thought Nog was going to say something about their chain of command and where he should actually fit into it, until he was told he was going to be a Lt. Commander and Chief Engineer. Then his eyes lit up, he sucked in a little air, and said thank you sir, I'll be in engineering if you need me. Then at the end, he realizes he'd over-stepped himself, and by not being a voice of reason, aided in the destruction of the ship. Oh, and weren't his pips for Lt. Jg (one full and one dark) instead of Lt. Commander (two full and one dark)?
I really think Nog was sucked in by his need to be accepted, as if he wanted to prove himself, and when he was given a promotion and a great deal of responsibility, he attempted to be the best at it he could be. And that clouded his judgement. I am wondering why he wasn't in engineering during the attack though. LaForge or Torres would be down in the guts when the action was thick and heavy, not doing things from the bridge.
There was such a long pause when the Captain went down... like nobody knew what to do. The Commander should have been up immediately, but instead sat there with a big arrow pointing towards her head and a balloon reading "Not Ready". I'd actually thought Nog would wait a moment to see if they'd get over their shock, then take command and tell them to get the heck out of there. Instead they wasted precious seconds getting pummeled from the rear as they sailed along...
Lastly, I think, I'd recently seen a show where someone who was abducted and held for 18 months defended their abductor, because of something psychological.
Somehow, that struck me as I watched Dorian defend Watters. He wouldn't let them go home (or even talk about it), but had kept them safe and made them feel like a valuable part of the team, etc. Perhaps at this point, there is no way she can find any real faults in him, because of the mental conditioning...
Any accurate or inaccurate thoughts in the above post are purely coincidental and may be explained away by random chance... :)
Wed, Jan 24, 2018, 2:52pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Feb 23, 2018, 11:45pm (UTC -5)
Because they were written so horrible, I felt nothing for them after they were killed, they were not simply following orders, like Nog they actually believed the captain was right and since Collins was so brainwashed by him, she tries to make it seem that Watters was a great man, while Nog was right that he was a bad captain... but Watters was no hero... far from it. They could have written these Jr. officers as flawed and complex, giving them a better backstory and reasons as to why they acted like this... but instead they were just insufferable brain dead brats.
The episode seems like it wants to be a mix between "The First Duty" and "Lower Decks"... but it fails.
Tue, Feb 27, 2018, 11:21pm (UTC -5)
The only person I hate more than Jake is the First Officer. She comes off as intentionally precocious. I wouldn't be able to listen to her without telling her to shut up.
Wed, Mar 28, 2018, 7:05am (UTC -5)
Mon, Apr 9, 2018, 9:06pm (UTC -5)
Also, it was WAY too convenient that EVERY escape pod was destroyed EXCEPT Jake & Nog's. Like, really?
Wed, May 16, 2018, 5:41pm (UTC -5)
Sat, Aug 25, 2018, 6:29am (UTC -5)
On a positive note, this is the first episode where I really appreciated the character of Nog. I could see the similarity between him and Worf - both the only species to wear the uniform, and both taking an extremely serious approach to their duty, because they know that it's already hard to be taken seriously, and they have to push it to the limit where there's never a question of their dedication.
Mon, Sep 17, 2018, 11:37pm (UTC -5)
Tue, Sep 18, 2018, 1:01am (UTC -5)
He thought it would be wrong for Wesley Crusher to "rat" on his friends, apparently more wrong than for them to throw their dead friend under the bus after pressuring him to go along with a stupid stunt they knew was against the rules for a reason. He was on Locarno's side, mocking Picard's "speech about duty and honor." I think he probably approached The Valiant with the idea that the cadets were doing basically the right thing and it just didn't work out. In that sense, Jammer's reaction of "Reality is somewhere in between" probably comes closer to what was intended than most of the commenters' reactions.
But Jammer's view is not mine. I just wish Jake had been given better lines to argue the anti-stupidity position.
Tue, Sep 18, 2018, 11:16am (UTC -5)
Yeah, I get the idea too that we are supposed to sympathize with Red Squad on some level - perhaps something like wow, look how long these kids kept things together on their own during wartime. Of course it all crumbles before our eyes, but I think a part of us, vis-à-vis Nog and his Starfleet enthusiasm, wanted them to succeed.
Wed, Dec 12, 2018, 2:49pm (UTC -5)
Do you remember their first appearance in "Paradise lost"? That cadet with a moron-like smile, saying to Sisko "We sabotaged Earth's whatever network, it was a success! Fuck yeah!", not even asking to his brain what kind of crap he just did... "Hey Ben, mission accomplished ain't it? Gimme five! Hurr durr..."
Luckily for Starfleet, Federation, Galaxy and Gene's eternal peace, the REAL Jem'hadars fixed it, TERMINATING the "Red Squad" experience.
As wroten above by Ospero, "I believe I am not supposed to yell "Yes! Go for it!" when I see a Starfleet ship destroyed"... But is what I did. And especially when that stupid bitter brat (1st officer) jumped out from the chair. ]:-)
Tue, Dec 18, 2018, 8:01am (UTC -5)
This is a nice change-of-pace episode that critically examines the chain-of-command and its authoritarian tangents. The medals, the obsession with rank, the absolute commands...it was great to see a critical light cast on these story telling elements that traditionally Trek rarely challenges.
Tue, Dec 18, 2018, 8:45am (UTC -5)
But funny you mention it, it occurred to me: do we know that the Federation *is* a democracy? Has there ever been a single reference to voting or elections? I am drawing blank.
I guess political campaigning and those machinations would spoil Rodenberry's perfect future.
Tue, Dec 18, 2018, 1:31pm (UTC -5)
KOR: Hardly. They were quite important to us, but they can be replaced. You of the Federation, you are much like us.
KIRK: We're nothing like you. We're a democratic body.
Weirdly enough, Kor again, in "Once More Unto the Breach":
KOR: Worf, you've been living among this democratic rabble for too long.
Now, what kind of democracy is not really clean, but it seems to be some sort of representative democracy (Jaresh-Inyo represented his planet before becoming UFP President). We are later told that Jaresh-Inyo is not longer president, but not if he resigned, died or was voted out.
Wed, Dec 19, 2018, 7:08am (UTC -5)
That no one in the history of Trek has ever alluded to elections, voting, or any aspect of civilian political life, despite allegedly existing in a democracy is quite telling.
Does Picard vote? I guess not.
I think Rodenberry and his successors considered politics, especially in a democracy, inherently dirty, unworthy of a utopian future. Yet no one could conceive of a palatable alternative so they just swept that whole concept under a rug. There is another good reason why Trek always focused so much on Starfleet, a military system. Democracy is messy, sometimes ugly and ever so human - the antithesis of the Trekkian vision of the future (at least according to Roddenberry I think)
Wed, Dec 19, 2018, 6:55pm (UTC -5)
But Star Trek has always painted a universe in which Starfleet controls practically everything, and that's why it's more fantasy than serious sci-fi. Almost any other series - Babylon 5, Battlestar Galactica, hell even Star Wars, demonstrate much better how things will be organized should we develop interstellar travel.
Thu, Dec 20, 2018, 10:54am (UTC -5)
Thu, Dec 20, 2018, 11:13am (UTC -5)
But yeah, Star Trek's are stories to date are exclusively revolving around Starfleet (not the Federation) so it's very hard to gauge what the mechanisms of the civilian government are. There's an episode of DS9, "Accession" which explains that the Federation does not admit worlds that practice certain levels of tyranny (like a caste system) so it follows that the Federation is pro-democracy.
Thu, Dec 20, 2018, 11:21am (UTC -5)
To be fair, I think what we're seeing in those cases is civilians being put in command of missions being carried out by the military. I never got the sense in TOS and TNG that non-Starfleet people have direct authority over Starfleet officers.
Thu, Dec 20, 2018, 11:34am (UTC -5)
Yeah, it's certainly a bit confusing. For example, in "The Adversary" Ambassador Krajensky is giving intelligence reports and orders on behalf of "the Federation" and "Federation interests" so it's hard to imagine exactly how that command structure works in regards to Sisko. It's almost implied that Starfleet and the Federation are interchangeable, but that doesn't seem to be the case in every episode.
Thu, Dec 20, 2018, 12:11pm (UTC -5)
Maybe it would be easiest to think of it as the ambassadors (or whoever else) having a mission to do, and being assigned staff and resources to get it done. This can include aides, helpers, various staff, along with tools like transport, staplers, and everything else they need. And sometimes they need a starship and its crew, which gets assigned to their mission as part of the project. The ambassador would obviously be in charge of the mission, seeing as the starship is just there to assist them, but strictly speaking they do not command the ship and its crew, even though they are authorized to give commands to the Captain (and I assume, *only* to the Captain) as to how the ship must serve the mission. What probably gets confusing is that in Star Trek the ambassadors are always also riding on the starship while giving the Captain those orders, which makes it feel like they're in charge of the ship or something, when really they could have been anywhere at all giving those mission orders. But being a passenger on the ship is only incidental (as they do need to get where they're going), and is more than anything a contrivance of writing a TV script with unified sets and locations.
The line for me was drawn pretty clearly in Peak Performance, when Picard makes it crystal clear to Kolrami what the difference is between commanding the mission and commanding the ship.
Thu, Dec 20, 2018, 12:45pm (UTC -5)
"Maybe it would be easiest to think of it as the ambassadors (or whoever else) having a mission to do, and being assigned staff and resources to get it done."
Right, but that still doesn't establish who authorized the mission. Did the Federation council tell Starfleet to handle the mission or is Starfleet acting on its own? The DS9 case I mentioned appears to indicate the former.
"The line for me was drawn pretty clearly in Peak Performance, when Picard makes it crystal clear to Kolrami what the difference is between commanding the mission and commanding the ship."
So you think all ambassadors are invested with the same level of command authority as Kolrami? That doesn't sound right as an ambassador's duties would vary from mission to mission and Kolrami in that case was just there to oversee a training exercise. Also, the Federation becomes much more militant post-Borg and Dominion, so the need for ambassadors with military-focused orders would increase.
Thu, Dec 20, 2018, 1:12pm (UTC -5)
"Right, but that still doesn't establish who authorized the mission. Did the Federation council tell Starfleet to handle the mission or is Starfleet acting on its own? The DS9 case I mentioned appears to indicate the former."
I expect that Starfleet's highest officers would be in regular conference with the Federation Council and President, and that they'd confer on such things, but overall I guess my impression is that missions such as we're describing are assigned by the Federation, and dispensed to Starfleet to carry out. But for all we know the Secretary of Starfleet is *on* the Federation council, so they may do more than just communicate with each other. But yeah, I always had the idea that the civilian government was in charge, and that whenever we see a Starfleet admiral passing down orders they're just a middleman.
"So you think all ambassadors are invested with the same level of command authority as Kolrami? That doesn't sound right as an ambassador's duties would vary from mission to mission and Kolrami in that case was just there to oversee a training exercise."
It probably depends on the importance of the mission, no? As you mention, it might seem strange to assign such authority to someone on a training exercise, unless Kolrami himself is confused as to exactly the extent of his authority (which he is shown to be). I think what's odd about the example in Peak Performance is that the entire assignment is a military one, in which case why isn't a Starfleet officer overseeing it? That's where we get into the exceptional Kolrami, who it seems is being given access to military intelligence and so forth due to the high esteem given to his tactical brilliance. I would imagine that normally such exercises would be conducted by an Admiral or something. But whoever's overseeing it would need complete authority, in order to adjudicate over the efficiency and in keeping the rules of the exercise. But of course such authority would have nothing to do with any situations that arise unrelated to the exercise, such as an actual attack, in which case Kolrami has no real authority at all. It would seem that his authority was far more limited than he tried to put out.
Thu, Dec 20, 2018, 1:46pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Dec 20, 2018, 2:11pm (UTC -5)
Agreed. TOS is the only series to deeply inspect the sheer awesome power Starship Captains have at their disposal, with the authority to go along with it. It's like having an Emperor with an army flying around in space. That's why the system is so contingent on Federation principles being so ingrained in the Captains, because only their own morality (and that of their crew) could restrain them from unleashing havoc. There is no direct measure in place to prevent mayhem if a Captain goes bad, as we see several times. I think this is part of why the show centered around how the entire planet needs to be cleaned up before we can wonder about why our leaders are always so corrupt. They are, because we are.
In a metaphoric sense, each of us is like a Captain, going around possibly having huge effects on the world and those around us, where the only safety measure in place is our own conscience, and the quality of our public life. In a decadent public environment the only stopgap is that the individual will rise above it, or that if they significantly break the law they'll be punished after the fact; but that won't stop them from causing harm first, and won't stop them at all if the nature of the harm isn't illegal.
In TNG it often seemed unthinkable that Starfleet officers could go bad, but in TOS it was not only thinkable but an ongoing problem for which the only solution is to keep striving to perfect ourselves.
Thu, Dec 20, 2018, 2:50pm (UTC -5)
You can see why things would be similar in the vastness of space. The problem is that in TOS & TNG, we are regularly shown near-instant communication, and the ability to get back to Earth in little time. Given that, it's hard to see why there wouldn't be constant communication with a civilian department overseeing them, with civilian specialists being sent to them as needed. It really only makes sense if you accept that the Federation has let Starfleet take over that function, with a small crew of civilian ambassadors to do the really high-level stuff.
Wed, Feb 6, 2019, 2:35pm (UTC -5)
--Quark's in love with Jadzia? Since when? Some hints he thinks she's hot stuff, sure, but in love?
--Jake and Nog, in their vulnerable little runabout, being pursued by the Jem Hadar. Yikes.
--A Federation ship full of teenagers- Red Squad.
--Greatness gets thrust upon Nog.
--This Captain looks like he should be playing an arrogant frat boy in Revenge of the Nerds.
--"You know, the sun only comes up once a month on the moon." "I felt like I met God every morning." I guess she means once a month. Still pretty often, for meeting God.
--This young lady playing Dorian Collins doing a nice job.
--Good God. This is disturbing. Dr House - I mean Captain Watters - is big on the "ketracel white."
--I'm suddenly remembering Lord of the Flies.
--Not a bad story. Not a great story. Some nice character development for Nog.
Wed, Feb 6, 2019, 4:44pm (UTC -5)
Lots of disagreement, I see. Here's how it struck me:
--From the opening sequence, which features Jadzia doing a job that Nog should be doing, the theme is set: How people behave when they get "down in the muck," when they have to step out of their shoes into less comfortable shoes. When they have to step down or step up from their usual perch.
--Jadzia, a mature woman whose unusual replicator-fixing assignment carries no danger or particular consequence, does fine. She doesn't mind getting messy or doing a "lowly job." She's secure and confident in herself, and the assignment itself is not particularly stressful.
--Watters, on the other hand, is an inexperienced young man, stressed to the max. He doesn't have, can't have, the uber-experienced, 300+ year old Jadzia's calm, confidence, and lack of ego, stepping into an unfamiliar role. I think that's why it's Jadzia fixing a replicator in the opener -it's at the total other end of the"unfamiliar role" spectrum.
--Watters is in deep water, way over his head. Unlike Jadzia, he's an insecure young man with something to prove, and he's in an extreme situation. He's so unsure of himself that Jake having one conversation with Dorian scares him, so uncertain he has the ship bugged and Jake arrested for speaking his mind. He's so overwhelmed he's taking drugs to try to keep himself together.
--Watters is a totally overwhelmed person - the wrong person in the wrong role at the wrong time. A bad Captain, as Nog says.
--The ep isn't about military people being arrogant asses, it's about what happens to inexperienced people under mega-stress. It's about what happens when greatness is thrust upon people who aren't ready for it.
Wed, Feb 6, 2019, 5:09pm (UTC -5)
Wed, Feb 6, 2019, 5:18pm (UTC -5)
I thought that this episode is about the toxicity of hubris. I suppose this lesson could be applied to the military, it's a more general life lesson. The reason I agree with @wolfstar and really dig this episode is because it drives this point home by obliterating Star Trek conventions. There's no real reason why Red Squad should fail here, narratively speaking-The Enterprise D's defeat of the Borg was probably more incredible, statistically-except for the fact that they're arrogant sods. I think it's a great episode.
Sun, Apr 7, 2019, 10:34pm (UTC -5)
Sun, Jun 16, 2019, 11:46pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Jun 17, 2019, 12:46am (UTC -5)
An interesting idea, but since Waters was named Acting Captain by an actual Captain, that commission would be an official one and therefore Waters was an actual Captain in rank until such a time as a senior officer relieved him of that rank. Now, if all the officers had died, and Waters had assumed command simply by virtue of being the senior cadet, then any officer would indeed outrank him. But unless I'm mistaken I think his rank was made official.
Mon, Jun 17, 2019, 1:13am (UTC -5)
I was in the military a long time ago and an officer cannot just waltz in and say: I have the highest rank. Everybody has to follow my orders.
Nog wasn't commissioned to take over the Valiant.
In other words an officer with the rank captain doesn't have power over every lower officer everywhere. Even a four star admiral cannot give an order to the lowest solider if that soldier is in a unit that isn't under the command of that four star admiral.
Chain of command. ;)
Sat, Aug 3, 2019, 3:24pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Aug 9, 2019, 4:46pm (UTC -5)
Sun, Sep 8, 2019, 9:52am (UTC -5)
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.
I thought your comments about Jadzia's experience versus Valiant's crew were spot on.
Sun, Sep 8, 2019, 11:26am (UTC -5)
Thu, Nov 14, 2019, 4:18am (UTC -5)
Every once in a while when I do a series rewatch, I approach this one thinking "ok it can't be THAT bad". Mistake.
Then I promise myself I'll never watch it again.
Fri, Nov 29, 2019, 1:54pm (UTC -5)
Star trek was big on picking females and black people to be captains. When it came time to cast the role of a confused, drug addicted captain who got his ship destroyed and most of his crew killed who did they bring in?
Thu, Feb 20, 2020, 9:25pm (UTC -5)
It's like more than half of you didn't even bother to pay attention at this episode's plot, thinking you're so smart for picking appart, while clearly ignoring basic war-time logic. Not to mention the constant bring of Fascism into the discussion, like this is some kind of commentary on "teh NaZis."
For any you jerkasses dumb enough to think these are child soldiers, then you must have never seen a 20 year old adult in your life.
So these are cadets that have ended up behind enemy lines. Have you forgotten these are still trained soldiers? Some of the best in fact? It's not rare to hear war stories of soldiers who seemingly deny the very existence of death and defeat during wartime, the younger one is, the more likely they are to think of themselves as indestructible in a subconcious level.
Not to mention that it's made quite obvious, as it is explicitly mentioned, that they have been maintaining radio silence since the very beggining, so Star Fleet has no idea they're even there.
I'm just imagining how you people think "Oh if I was there, I'd be shitting my pants like a pussy and I would grab the nearest escape pod." These are soldiers trained for war, caught in a situation, desperate to prove themselves. Christ, grow some balls.
Mon, Mar 2, 2020, 11:02pm (UTC -5)
The Tribunal consisted of Captain Sisko, Commander Worf and commander Degorion of Star Fleet Intelligence who was sent by SFC to investigate the Valiant incident. The conclusion was although acting Captain Watters was correct in continuing with the intelligence gathering mission after the death of the original Captain and maintaining the communication blackout while deep in enemy territory, the failure to immediately return to Federation space ONCE the Dreadnought's intelligence was gathered should have been paramount instead of the youthful inexperienced attack which resulted in the deaths and loss of the Valiant. The abuse of chemical stimulants and lack of experience were major factors contributing to the failed mission.
Sat, Mar 7, 2020, 7:07am (UTC -5)
Though first, you need to buy into the highly contrived conceit that all the adults conveniently died in a way which left a bunch of hormone-addled “alpha” teenagers in charge of a (mostly) fully functional warship. And for an added bonus, while limping around the universe, they happen to stumble across another ship with two teenagers in, one of which knows how to fix the engines of said warship.
The icing on the cake is that this half-baked crew has been stumbling around for eight months in radio silence - and without any resupplies - for yet more contrived reasons, and is attempting to hunt down a Dominion super-battleship, despite the fact that they don’t have a cloaking device and have been stuck at warp 3 - or approx. 200 times slower than the Jem Hadar ships they’ve been trying to avoid.
I dunno. There’s only so much suspension of disbelief I can do, especially when the main plotline isn’t particularly engaging. It perhaps doesn’t help that the teen-crew is structured around the American frat-house trope, all the way down to ritual chants and closing ranks to outsiders. But as with other things the DS9 writers brought into the show (e.g. Vic Fontaine) that trope is pretty uniquely American in nature and just looks bizzare if not both pathetic and ridiculous from a European perspective.
(Though University sports societies in the UK can sometimes bear a passing resemblance; there was a night when a bunch of dress-wearing rugby players stood on tables at a nearby pub to bellow out politically incorrect songs inbetween chugging pints of beer, before linking arms between each other’s legs and staggering off in a bizarre human chain. But I digress…)
Sadly, things go pretty much as you’d expect. The highly arrogant teen-captain has been abusing space-amphetamines, which in turn leads him to abuse the ship’s internal monitoring systems and then to object to Jake’s presence as an potentially disruptive outsider. And when they do stumble across the super-battleship, he naturally decides to try and destroy it rather than returning to the Federation undetected.
But since this is DS9, the plan fails, the ship is destroyed and everyone onboard is killed - except, in an oddly convenient way, for a single escape pod which just so happens to hold Jake, Nog and a token survivor, whose final action is an attempt to defend the teen-captain as being a great man, despite all evidence to the contrary.
I can see what they were going for, but it all falls a bit flat for me.
Fri, Mar 13, 2020, 3:20pm (UTC -5)
This episode was dumb.
Sun, Mar 22, 2020, 2:30am (UTC -5)
In that issue, the captain of a ship beams down to a planet and gets ambushed by Romulans snd the entire party is killed. The captain orders the ensign in charge to get the ship out.
But the ensign rebels saying “Kirk wouldn’t let this happen” . Basically the ensign used kirks example of breaking the rules to try and attack the romulan ships.
At the end of the day, like the cadet in ds9, the m attempt at heroics fails. But in the comic, Kirk comes in to save the day.
I had to look up the comic: issue #47 (1984 run) entitled “idol threats”
Wed, May 20, 2020, 1:55pm (UTC -5)
Tue, May 26, 2020, 3:32am (UTC -5)
I should probably admit that I’m not a DS9 fan, but I just happened to catch it on Hero’s and Icons channel one night. In fact, I usually jokingly refer to the series as ‘Truck Stop 9’ or ‘Deep Drop 9’, as I generally find it rather boring. I’m more of a TNG and Voyager person, myself, for what it’s worth.
Anyway, I’m willing to bet the people who find this episode more disagreeable probably lean more to the liberal side of the spectrum in their mindset. If true, I’d like to point out that the story goes out of its way to condemn fascist style thinking, and all the worst about cult of personality and war. It’s also an exciting episode.
I liked the ‘red squad’ chanting. Like ‘USA, USA!’, it helps build comraderie and team spirit, especially in this case, when the crew realizes the odds against them. Or a bit like the very annoying, “we’re all in this together”, we keep hearing at the moment.
Good stuff, and not nearly as boring as this series usually is. Just my two cents...
Fri, Jul 17, 2020, 10:29pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Sep 18, 2020, 3:29pm (UTC -5)
Sat, Sep 19, 2020, 3:48pm (UTC -5)
I know exactly what you are saying. Imo how good any show is lives and dies on your relationship with the characters and how well they are written. For me a lot of political/war episodes seem to “zoom out” and get too large scale, too much going on, too many moving pieces. While some of the comedy episodes that focus on just a few characters show more of who they are and I find heartwarming
Sun, Sep 20, 2020, 2:02pm (UTC -5)
Sat, Nov 28, 2020, 1:39am (UTC -5)
Fri, Feb 19, 2021, 5:08am (UTC -5)
If the intent was to feel rage at these characters, and no sympathy when they died... success?
And yes, I *know* what I was like at 18-22, in my first career job. I was eager, smart; had a lot of disruptive new ideas, and didn't yet know what corporate hierarchy would be like. So in a way that precociousness tracks. But at no point did I see myself as equivalent to experts with decades of experience. And with the risk of dying added.. are you kidding?
If the element of duty and bravery of the child-crew rings true for you, look at it as a warning flag of the dangers of extravert culture and groupthink (e.g. encouraging cults of personality and egomaniacs like this). Because to me it just feels like a cautionary about how wrong it is to recruit naïve kids for military service, rather than any commentary on starfleet ideals, soldiering, military experience, or bravery.
To give credit, @Springy re-framing Watters as insecure, did make me reconsider a little. I had taken his spying on Jake as a signal of how he *usually* runs his ship; not as a signal of his decline.
And @Kyle, in general, I often find myself marveling at how calm the regular ST cast are, when facing death. So I'm not putting down those aspects of military bravery. Quite simply, if theses kids were cautious and determined to survive, and things didn't work out, or if they were written as trapped behind enemy lines for reasons beyond mission goals, having them die would have felt like the tragedy it is. Instead it feels on par with arrogant kids getting drunk, and crashing their cars in a drunken race. Darwin award deaths. No nuance, just bold stupidity.
Fri, Feb 19, 2021, 8:04am (UTC -5)
I can't imagine being this age and feeling this way. Just a totally alien way of thinking.
Sat, Mar 20, 2021, 6:13am (UTC -5)
Personally, I feel they should've stuck with the idea of the crew, as a group, trying to push themselves beyond their limits, and the consequences of doing so, rather than put all that on the acting captain and having him be the only one who was interested in the idea (as the de-briefing scene makes clear) but that aside, the episode was decent enough, one that, while mostly filler-y, could (don't know if it does, as this is my first time watching the series) potentially lead to some character development for Nog further down the line.
Sun, Jul 25, 2021, 10:39pm (UTC -5)
Tue, Jul 27, 2021, 12:07am (UTC -5)
I’d watch this episode any day over Profit and Lace or the one with Lwaxana in the mud bath, but you do you.
Wed, Aug 11, 2021, 9:18am (UTC -5)
But according to the DS9 Technical Manual, Bajor is only 52 light years from Earth. Wow, if 52 light years is considered "deep space", then the Federation is drastically smaller than I ever thought.
This also rather contradicts actual statements from TOS.
Anyway, is 52 light years considered "deep" space even today?
Wed, Aug 11, 2021, 9:30am (UTC -5)
A Google search shows that it's not really a technical term, so has no fixed meaning. It could mean anything ranging from being outside the Earth/moon system, to outside the solar system.
Wed, Aug 11, 2021, 9:53am (UTC -5)
Fri, Oct 29, 2021, 5:01pm (UTC -5)
Still, even in the TNG era, when Julian says something like this about DS9:
"The farthest reaches of the galaxy. One of the most remote outposts available. This is where the adventure is. This is where heroes are made. Right here, in the wilderness."
Even with Julian being hyperbolic, that still suggests something a lot farther than 52 light years.
And it's been well established the Federation straddles the Alpha and Beta quadrants. If we assume a diameter of about 100 light years... well, that's like rounding error in terms of the size of the galaxy. I wouldn't say the Feds are "in" either.
Well, it won't keep me up at night. After all, neither the 1701 nor 1701-D could possibly really have all the adventures they have in 3 years or 7 years or whatever unless they have instantaneous transportation.
Sat, Nov 20, 2021, 1:46am (UTC -5)
To me, this fits with Q's comment that Starfleet was about to enter areas with threats they couldn't imagine when he threw the Enterprise 7,000 light years to encounter the Borg.
Mon, Dec 13, 2021, 10:04pm (UTC -5)
A lot of DS9's "land battle" episodes borrow heavily from Fuller, to good effect.
"Valiant" is the first time, though, that Behr gives us Sam Fuller in a spaceship. And so we get a nicely minimalistic tale of kids trapped behind military lines and unwittingly succumbing to the kind of WW2-era jingoism and war-fever that Fuller liked to warn against. Fittingly Jake - the writer, the outsider (another common WW2, and Fuller trope) - is one of the few people to not get swept up in the yearning for blood, vengeance and glory.
Someone above mentioned "Lord of the Flies", and IMO that's another apt comparison; detached from the Federation - from civilization - the kids become primal, tribal, and swear fidelity to their charismatic alpha leader.
Some commenters deem this an offensive episode ("Starfleet would never behave like that!"), but I've never read it this way. I've always taken it not as a condemnation of Starfleet, but rather a warning of what happens when you're disconnected from Starfleet. I'd say it also has a slightly satirical tone, akin to Verhoeven's "Starship Troopers".
The special effects and "dog fights" continue to be spectacular in this show. DS9's model work aged better than most similar stuff of the period, and to me seem more exciting than similar fare seen in Disco.
Sun, Jan 9, 2022, 3:49pm (UTC -5)
Wed, Mar 16, 2022, 7:05am (UTC -5)
The excuse that they are "trapped behind enemy lines" doesn't make sense on multiple levels. First of all, space is huge. It would be a simple matter to turn around and go to the nearest star base, even if they had to make sneaky detours. If they could exist "behind enemy lines" for so long without being blown up then they could surely fly home more easily. And more importantly, a rogue Federation ship in enemy territory would eventually have a whole squadron sent after it.
I have to forgive all these things in order to just go with the jingoistic plot line, but I feel that good sci-fi also needs an effective setup in order to really drive the stakes home. There were no stakes here. We're just supposed to believe that a group of cadets was given one the most of advanced classes of starship for training purposes, and then not ordered home when the commissioned officers were about to be killed off.
Also... Nog is commissioned. He could have pulled rank on all those cadets. A captain can't commission another captain as occurred with Watters. He can only be made acting captain.
It just... doesn't make sense.
Even their original mission to circumnavigate the entire Federation. Why? Why would cadets be given jobs that are even one rank above their pay grade, let alone several, when they just don't have the experience? What about their 4th year classes at school? Did they just stop studying?
I feel that whomever wrote this episode was too caught up in high concept to realize that it doesn't add up.
Tue, Mar 22, 2022, 10:01pm (UTC -5)
Sat, Mar 26, 2022, 1:03pm (UTC -5)
1) They would never make a cadet captain and put him in charge. What's the alternative? All the senior leadership died. As others have noted, a totally plausible explanation is that the dying captain put Watters in charge with orders to repair the ship and return home and Watters just made up his own orders because he's an immature cult leader.
2) You would never put a bunch of teenagers on a state of the art warship. Maybe not in peacetime, but this is a war the Federation is losing ... badly. Just look at the history of our world wars where countries are literally fighting over their existence. You end up with more and more teenagers in the trenches. It makes perfect sense Starfleet would want these elite cadets on a training voyage in order to get them into ships as quickly as possible so they can gain experience and move up in the ranks. Starfleet needs fresh bodies quickly so they can get blown up by the Jem'Hadar.
3) Jake's behavior - the moment Nog fixed the engines and they didn't immediately warp back to the nearest star base is when Jake's assessment of the ship being full of fanatics rang true. As the only one not charmed into Watters' cult, he is the voice of reason.
4) Nog's behavior - Nog has spent his life being told Ferengi are greedy trolls who only care about profit and have no sense of duty, honor or loyalty. He feels no one respects him or takes him seriously. Now not only does he get to work side by side with the cadets he idolized at Starfleet Academy, but they give him the respect he wants so badly AND real responsibility. It's his dream come true so it makes sense he too gets sucked into the Lord of the Flies in Space cult.
5) Being stuck behind enemy lines - what didn't make sense was Jake and Nog flying on their own into a warzone. It would have made more sense if either they had flown into a wormhole and been deposited into hostile space or if they had been passengers in a ship crewed by Starfleet which was attacked and they were the only ones who managed to get beamed out. The explanation of the Valiant being stuck makes sense, although their survival improbable. Watters and his crew are like Spanish explorers shipwrecked in the new world with no way to get back.
6) People seem to discount the role charismatic leaders can play in molding a society. Watters' crew, young kids who have endured 8 months of PTSD inducing terror, are now fanatically devoted to him and will follow him right off of the cliff. Just look at current events with Putin annihilating Ukraine. I'm not a expert on Russia-Ukraine relations but it feels a lot like the equivalent of the USA laying waste to Canada. You would think the people would rise up but Russians get propaganda 24/7 in all their state controlled media telling them the Russians are actually protecting Ukraine and all the destruction is caused by "Ukrainian nationalists." Never underestimate the power of cult figures over a group.
Thu, Apr 28, 2022, 12:09pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Jun 17, 2022, 3:14pm (UTC -5)
Sat, Jul 16, 2022, 12:24am (UTC -5)
Wesley Crusher shows a precedent for field commissions and the circumstance of Watters' commission is far more justifiable as it's a literal battlefield commission.
Even if he were only made an ensign by his CO, he was also made captain of the ship and "captain" in that sense is not a rank, it's a position. A higher ranking individual on the ship can't just assume command.
Anyway, certainly nobody would follow Nog had he attempted that.
Mon, Sep 26, 2022, 11:07am (UTC -5)
We have a vessel stuck behind enemy lines, during a vicious war, manned by dutiful cadets who were thrown into deeply challenging and invidious circumstances that would have broken older and tougher men, but they apparently rose to the occasion with aplomb. So, but naturally, all can't possibly be what it seems. Naturally, there is something dark and sinister going on behind the scenes. Naturally. Because GODS FORBID these diligent, clean-cut cadets should actually emerge as the heroes in the story. In case the subtlety of the captain popping some weird pills and callously forbidding his vulnerable crewmen from indulging in wistful reminiscences about home was somehow lost on the viewer, the episode really makes sure to drive the point home by the X.O. being a female dog to our oh-so lovable and sensitive Jake. You put a metrosexual "reporter" who wants to talk about feeeeeeeeeelings on a warship in his place? Why, you MUST be an absolute bitch! 🙄🙄🙄
The Cisco would "never try to pull off something like this"? Really?! REALLY!? What is this: episode 2 of season 1?! Pull that B.S. on someone else, kid. We all know The Cisco did far more foolhardy and apparently hopeless missions. Many times. Give me a break.
Also interesting to see surveillance cameras in Engineering. Usually nobody has a clue what's going on anywhere because C.C.T.V. is apparently not a thing in the 24th century... - until now. Naturally.
Anyway, the ending was predictable. Predictably and tiresomely naff. We can't have anyone other than The Cisco pull death-defying feats of military brilliance. The kids therefore had to be vaporized. Naturally.
Even the escape pods didn't make it. Except Jake and Nogg's. Naturally.
Regarding the rating, a single star for the action sequences. You basically can't score a win unless you're of The Cisco and Friends.
P.S. Jake has turned into an insufferable bore. He really needs to repair away to a ranch on the Moon and spend his days writing manuals about crocheting.
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