Covenant, It’s only a Paper Moon, Prodigal Daughter, The Emperor’s New Cloak

COVENANT

Dukat, the new leader of the Pah’wraith cult, abducts Kira.

I liked the return to Empok Nor but I would have liked to see it a bit more dark and rundown as before. It would have made things more creepy. As it stands the place looked too much like DS9.

The story of a religious leader who is leading people astray is nothing new but I enjoyed watching this take. It helped a lot that we weren’t bouncing back to DS9 for parallel stories. Made things just a shade more claustrophobic and inescapable.

The twist where a Bajoran baby turned out to be Dukat’s love child was also nothing new but it was pretty satisfying to see the instrument of Dukat’s doom be revealed like that.

There are times where all these Dukat episode feel like a montage of him trying different jobs: Captain, Truck Driver, Cult Leader, Crazy guy, General, Dad. I hope he finds himself.

IT’S ONLY A PAPER MOON

Nog struggles to recover following his leg amputation.

Love the title of this episode. Ignoring the song reference, it’s so ominous. The tone is perfect for an episode about a guy who’s recovering from a war amputation in a holosuite.

They really had me for the first 2/3rds of the episode. It kind of fell apart once Ezri mistakenly assumed that Vic was going to trick Nog into realizing it was time to leave the holodeck, I think that was the wrong turn.

For one thing, I don’t like the way Ezri has been used thus far. I liked how the Garak situation was handled by her a few episodes back. As I look at it now though it was just a little bit too accidental. Here, she accomplishes nothing. This could really have been a moment for Ezri to shine. They’ve added a counselor to the cast without having her do any counselling.

I’m okay with Vic being this self-aware, ALMOST real person but only to a point. When he starts thinking independently enough to help Nog get over PTSD though, they’ve lost me. Ezri should have been there, working with Vic, to help Nog. What happened just felt silly.

PRODIGAL DAUGHTER

Ezri spends time with her family.

Ezri’s original last name was Tegan? I was just thinking a few hours ago that in a DS9 reboot Ezri would be played by either Tegan or Sara. Crazy.

Anyway, I wish they had taken a moment to think up a Trill equivalent of the term “maiden name”. What the opposite of joined? Detached name

The establishing shots of New Sydney in this episode are some of the best I’ve ever seen. Movie quality stuff. In fact they’re better than a lot of movie ones.

Other than that, though, this episode really sucks.

THE EMPEROR’S NEW CLOAK

Quark and Rom go to rescue to the Nagus from the Mirror Universe.

I enjoyed this more than the rest of the mirror episodes. Not quite sure why. Maybe it was the focus on a character arc for Ezri – too often these mirror episodes are just a mish-mash of characters and events. This one felt more focused.

Although I like Ezri Dax as a character I wonder if the character might have been better if they structured her more like mirror Ezri. Kind of a dark and feisty rebel. It still would have allowed them to have a reluctant Trill host but actually got some conflict out of the situation. Might have been interesting to have an arc over the course of season 7 be Ezri finding some inner peace thanks to the Dax symbiont.

Chrysalis, Treachery Faith and the Great River, Once More unto the Breach, The Siege of AR-558

CHRYSALIS

Bashir falls for a patient – a genetically engineered patient.

There’s a great scene in this episode where all the genetically engineered characters are singing together. It was quite captivating and I actually felt Bashir falling in love with this woman as he watched it unfold.

The rest of the episode is fairly standard Star Trek love story fare. But that music scene will actually stick in my memory for a long time.

TREACHERY, FAITH, AND THE GREAT RIVER

Odo escorts a Weyoun clone who is defecting while Nog’s Ferengi side comes in handy as a Starfleet officer.

These two plots have nothing to do with each other at all. But they’re both very good.

I admire how ambitious DS9 has been with it’s special FX work. The sequence inside the icy asteroid field wasn’t perfectly designed or rendered but as I watched it, I bought it. It was very “cool” to watch. At one point the runabout landed inside a block of ice and with life support shut down Odo mentioned they would be bleeding heat at a rapid rate. The thing I really liked there was an actual knowledge of basic science being used to create conflict in an episode.

With regard to Nog treating spare (and essential) parts of DS9’s infrastructure as barter chips, the plot moved so fast I honestly couldn’t quite keep up. But that kept it tense and also will make for decent repeat viewing.

ONCE MORE UNTO THE BREACH

Worf’s old buddy takes him on a mission in the hopes of getting killed.

Sometimes a TV show picks a one-time role and turns it into a fan favorite: Q, Harry Mudd, this Klingon jackass. But I hate this Klingon jackass. I don’t know what people see in him. He may speak with gusto but he is kind of a spazz. Glad he’s gone.

THE SIEGE OF AR-558

Sisko, Nog, Bashir and Dax assist in protecting captured Dominion equipment from a ground assault.

Quark… he is the best part of this episode.

Quark convinced me that this was a dumb fight. He also made me understand the Ferengi a bit better. War really is the last option. It’s what comes after negotiations have broken down. If you’re fighting a war, you’ve really failed at commerce.

When Nog is sent to do recon Quarks asks Sisko if he would send Jake. Sisko avoids the question by countering that Jake isn’t a Starfleet officer. This of course begs the question, what if he was? The fact is that Sisko has watched Nog grow up. Even if Sisko has the guts to send Nog to his death – imagine how bad that act might mess up Sisko’s life. Would Jake forgive him? Could Sisko forgive himself?

As far as the action goes this episode is top notch. It’s nice to see a sci-fi battle that doesn’t take place among the stars. It’s raw and it’s in the dirt but it is still clearly the future. The guy with the ketracel white tubes around his neck was a bit too much, almost cheesy – but I still liked the allegory.

I would say this episode is a bit over rated. Aside from Nog’s lost leg I don’t think any new ground is explored but it is nonetheless a good watch.

Image in the Sand, Shadows and Symbols, Afterimage, Take me out to the Holosuite

IMAGE IN THE SAND

Season… 7… begins… NOW!

Usually episodes like this, in any TV series, suck.

Stories about characters who are going through some form of depression on account of loss or failure are boring. They are essential to the overall plot of the series but no one really enjoys watching them. But this one works.

Sisko has virtually quit Starfleet. He’s sitting around at his Dad’s restaurant, not talking to anyone and feeling sorry for himself. The writers are smart though – they don’t make us sit through his self-pity for long. We see one scene of it and we’re told that he’s been like that for three months. Immediately, in fact DURING this scene the plot starts moving forward as Sisko has a vision of a woman and he sets out to find her.

The thing I love about this is that in addition to an interesting mystery this also explains why the Prophets chose Sisko as the Emissary in the first place – because his mother was a prophet. That wasn’t a mystery I ever thought needed explaining but I’m glad they did. It’s really strengthened the series.

I really like seeing Kira in charge. I like the promotion, too. She’s a fair minded leader now who is willing to give people her trust. I like how she is still fiery and will gladly end any fight that someone else is dumb enough to start with her.

SHADOWS AND SYMBOLS

Sisko, son, dad and the new Dax set off looking for the Orb of the Emissary.

I liked the Admiral Ross character until he sat down alongside this Romulan woman. He now just looks like a whipped husband.

The thing that works in this episode is that none of the stories are overly complex, they can all be summed up in a few sentences, maybe even one. Sisko looks for an Orb. Worf tries to win a battle. Kira tries to prove the Bajorans aren’t to be trifled with. However they are very well edited together to keep an exciting pace and it feels like something more significant than the mere sum of the parts has transpired.

When the flashbacks to Benny began I was skeptical. They felt tacked on. But without them, I don’t think the storyline of Ben and the Orb would have made as much sense or been sustainable. It would have just seemed like we were watching someone go crazy. Thanks to the flashbacks, Sisko and the Orb maintained its tension because we could see what was at stake.

It feels like the stories are building towards a total resolution and explanation for Sisko’s relationship with Benny, the HIM who is dreaming about the future. I hope I’m not wrong. If any other Star Trek Captrain went this crazy you’d lose a big chunk of the audience’s respect. In the case of Sisko, as played by Avery Brooks, I would say it’s somehow consistent with the character to be this nuts.

AFTERIMAGE

Ezri Dax grows up.

It’s really tough to do believable psycho-analysis on TV. How do you invent psychological problems for a character and develop their mind with enough depth for other characters to figure out what’s wrong with them – without it being painfully obvious to the audience?

So anyway, they do it here. They pull it off very well. It’s a great scene where Garak suddenly opens up to Ezri that although he is helping the war effort, he’s getting his own people killed in order to do so.

That would give me a lot of anxiety.

And yes, I like Ezri. She’s an interesting character. I’ve been a fan of Nicole de Boer since CUBE.

TAKE ME OUT TO THE HOLOSUITE

DS9 plays a bunch of Vulcans in baseball.

This Vulcan Captain is a racist. No doubt about it. He is a racist. His entire crew is Vulcan? That’s kind of dispicable. But it’s totally plausible so I don’t fault the writers. I commend them for it.

The baseball game was a lot of fun to watch but a bit too frustrating. I think it would have been nice to see Worf performing well by incorporating his own fighting techniques. Maybe he could swing the bat backhanded like a bat’leth. Maybe that’s lame actually. I’m glad they didn’t do that.

A fun episode to watch.

Profit and Lace, Time’s Orphan, The Sound of her Voice, Tears of the Prophets

PROFIT AND LACE

Quark in drag.

Armin Shimmerman’s contact must have said that X number of episodes per year had to feature him as the main character. They’re getting a little bit desperate for Ferengi themed stories. This one’s rather tiresome.

TIME’S ORPHAN

Molly O’Brien is briefly transported into the past and then returns as an 18 year old savage.

This is old school Trek but I enjoyed watching it. The end was a little bit silly, things worked out rather conveniently – make that perfectly conveniently.

THE SOUND OF HER VOICE

A woman the crew is racing to rescue becomes a surrogate counsellor via subspace.

The big twist at the end of the episode is that she died 8 years ago. They have been talking to her in the past. Their rescue mission recovers nothing but a pile of bones.

Although I enjoyed watching this it really did strain credibility. The woman in distress just happened to have been on a deep space operation for 8 years. That’s why she doesn’t know about the war? Her hours upon days of conversation with the crew never once mentioned anything date specific at all? Don’t you think Sisko might have mentioned heping rebuild the fleet after Wolf 359? Considering what a major part Sisko has played in building the fleet and then commanding it from DS9, he SHOULD remember the name Olympia.

Don’t you think that someone on the Defiant would have remembered the USS Olympia going missing eight years earlier? It would have been a pretty tragic loss for a ship to go on a deep space mission for 8 years and then get destroyed – resulting in a huge loss of scientific research. I can easily imagine that on account of that there would have been some major reviews of how deep space missions are conducted and word of that would have hit the Defiant crew at some point in their lives. Seems like it would have been a big story.

Oh well. If you forgive that then this isn’t such a bad episode. But I think it might have been interesting (and tragic) if at the end the crew could still talk to her through time after finding her dead body. They already know she’s dead and they don’t tell her, they just let her fall asleep, waiting for rescue. Like I said… tragic.

TEARS OF THE PROPHETS

R.I.P. D.A.X.

I went in knowing that Dax would die in this one. Yet this episode does a remarkable job of making us think that completely different things are at stake. The subplot about Dax and Worf trying to conceive didn’t feel manipulative, it really felt like a turning point in Dax’s life. It felt “on time” for them to have a child. It felt like it was time for a change in Dax’s life: a kid, a new assignment, or death.

Like every death I’m Star Trek, the way it happens is pretty lame. The nonsensical way that Dukat’s kills Dax is on par with Tasha Yar’s meaningless death and Kirk’s anticlimactic death.

I will give the last five minutes of this episode an A+ though. I don’t blame Sisko for leaving his job. I would take a sabbatical at this point too; no matter how dedicated I was. He expels all this effort battling the Dominion, is victorious and yet it kills his best friend and shuts off the Bajorans from their Gods.

So amazing that this episode and the episode one year earlier both conclude via Sisko’s baseball. I could write a 5 page essay on baseball in Star Trek.

The closing shot of Sisko – content to just scrub potatoes – free of responsibility – no one counting on his decisions – is one of my favorite Trek moments.

In the Pale Moonlight, His Way, The Reckoning, Valiant,

IN THE PALE MOONLIGHT

Sisko pulls out all the stops to get the Romulans on his side of the war.

This episode cleverly avoids any accusations of being preachy via the captain’s log. The heart of this episode is watching Sisko pick apart his decisions to try and reconcile what’s right or wrong. In real life you never know at the time you make a decision. Until the consequences have played out you don’t know if you made the right call or wrong call.

I thought it was very cool that Betazed was invaded by the Dominion. It was a good choice of planet since we have briefly seen what Betazed looks like so we can visualize the interesting juxtaposition of Jem’Hadar soldiers walking through those flowery gardens.

In one scene Garak tells Sisko that all the spies he contacted on Cardassia were killed. Sisko’s reaction: somber, quiet, defeated, perfect. Have to give Avery Brooks some credit for the way he handles that moment. He seems to be giving up. He subconsciously knows that what he’s about to do will get him into trouble.

In the end, Sisko has made a mistake that has probably made his situation worse. But Garak’s final move is the one that makes it all ok. That could just have been a force of nature that made Sisko’s decisions righteous. This is an episode about luck yet luck only plays out the way it does because of the decisions Sisko made. This is really, really fascinating to watch.

They do a great job of keeping the story from being predictable. Sisko’s persistent fear that the Romulans would catch him in his deception made me think Vreenak would never figure it out. Then he did. It compounded the stakes. The worst fears as we saw them become a reality.

In the end, Sisko says he can live with it. Just like a real person. We expect our TV characters to stay the same year after year but in real life people change. As Sisko has throughout DS9.

A++

HIS WAY

A holosuite lounge singer coaches Odo in the ways of love.

I was dreading this episode; just not something I was in the mood for, but I liked a lot of it.

I liked how Bashir wanted to make this lounge the place where the senior staff hangs out.

I liked Worf wishing they were listening to Klington opera – it was annoying at first but then became kind of cute – like the time I went to the video store with my great-aunt and she only wanted to rent a movie starring Red Skelton.

I liked how Colm Meaney gets caught looking at the camera the first time he’s on screen but I guess no one noticed and they didn’t have a better take.

I liked Vic Fontaine and that he knew he was a hologram.

I liked the kiss at the end.

THE RECKONING

Prophets vs Pah-wraiths

1. Jake Sisko with red pupils looks like a real bad ass.

2. The battle at the end looks exactly the same as the final battle between Harry Potter and Voldemort.

3. The name “Kosst Amojan” looks stupid but it SOUNDS awesome.

4. I don’t understand the point of this episode at all. There was a battle that killed a demon spirit that was locked in a piece of rock for thousands of years and Sisko was destined to let him out but why couldn’t it just have been his destiny to leave him in there? Why did we have to watch this weird cycle?

5. Oh, I see. Jake now understands his father’s role as the Emissary – that was the point of this episode.

6. That’s kind of weak.

7. Oh, I see now again. The point was to make Odo understand Kira’s faith.

8. That’s less weak.

9. Kai Winn… I want to punch you in the Bajoran earring sometimes.

VALIANT

2.5 rank pips = Lieutenant Commander.
1.5 rank pips = Lieutenant junior grade.

You only have to watch one episode to figure this out. One!!! TOPS!!!!!

Nog says he is a “Lieutenant Commander” while we’re looking at a close up of him wearing 1.5 pips!

Ugh. They couldn’t find ONE MORE lying around? Steal one from an extra who isn’t in that particular shot? I am PRAYING that it just fell off, no one noticed during filming and this scene was too essential to the plot (which it’s not at all).

I think this episode was written by the old man from “Up” because whoever wrote this HATES kids. Jake is considered the voice of reason since his dad is somebody. I agree with everything Jake says but it seems like the point of this episode is to remind the audience that kids are impulsive, stupid, and wreckless. And of course that they think they’re immortal. Oh, and that living like an adult for a few months, with adult responsibilities will give you lethal headaches.

The Valiant is going into battle against a Jem’hadar ship that is TWO times the size of a Galaxy class vessel??!! Against a Defiant sized ship!!! That’s like a tank vs a toy tank.

Cool episode though.

Honor among Thieves, Change of Heart, Wrongs Darker than Death or Night, Inquisition

HONOR AMONG THIEVES

O’Brien goes undercover.

I’ll make this review simple…

As a TV show: B

As an episode of DS9: F

This is not sci-fi. There is no sci-fi twist; no sci-fi angle. This could have been an episode of almost any cop show. It had nothing to do with Star Trek or DS9 or science fiction. You could just change the setting to 1970 New Jersey and it would be the same story.

CHANGE OF HEART

Worf is faced with tough choices while on a mission with his wife.

A good, organically constructed episode. I really enjoyed watching this playout; I was so immersed in what was happening I couldn’t critique the little problems. Dax and Worf felt like a real couple, arguing, lying, and loving each other as married couples do.

I don’t think it was necessary to show the defector being quite such a jerk at the start of the episode. I think they could have added something to the episode if they had him be a noble guy who is doing the right thing; he’s scared and he needs their help badly. As it was, the jerk angle makes it a bit predictable that he would die and seemed to be trying to excuse Worf’s actions when Worf would actually have done the same thing to the defector – no matter what his personality was. Seeing a nice guy die because of Worf’s decision to save Dax would have strengthened the story.

But, that’s a small problem. This remains a very good story. Yet another DS9 episode with real consequences. I love the moment where Sisko tells Worf that because of the choice he made he will probably never be offered his own command. We’ve watched Worf’s career for over a decade – that was a big deal.

WRONGS DARKER THAN DEATH OR NIGHT

Kira travels back in time (rather easily) to see if her mom was Dukat’s concubine.

The episode ends with Kira saying it doesn’t matter what she did, she was my mother. Duh.

Thiis episode was way too simple for it’s own good. A decent idea, but one that need to be more revelatory. It also should have happened sometime during season 1 or 2. This twist in the relationship between Kira and Dukat could have had some interesting consequences earlier on in the series and gave them a very interesting way to antagonize one another.

INQUISITION

Bashir is accused of being a Dominion spy.

William Sadler rules. He wears a Starfleet uniform really well, too. He’s such a good actor; intense without ever overdoing it. I saw “Kinsey” ten years ago and his one scene in it still scares the hell out of me. At the same time I find him completely loveable in “The Shawshank Redemption”.

This episode was laid out extremely well – it could have been predictable but I never saw any of the twists coming. The pace stalls a bit once Bashir is thrown in prison but at the same time Bashir probably felt like his life was stalling in that section.

I saw one episode about Section 31 years ago. I had an idea in 2002 in the back of my head for Star Trek XI where it turns out that Jack Crusher had faked his death years earlier to join Section 31. He comes out of retirement only to find that Picard and Beverly are now married and it makes him lose his mind and he wants revenge and to destroy the Enterprise, etc. Riker, and the crew of the Titan would of course be involved. It could’ve worked.

Waltz, Who Mourns for Morn, Far Beyond the Stars, One Little Ship

WALTZ

Sisko and Dukat have a war of words.

Okay, here’s the thing. the first half of the episode is Sisko pretending to respect Dukat while under duress. Then, the twist in the story comes and Sisko decides playing nice won’t save his life. From then on Sisko is brutally honest with Dukat about what he REALLY thinks of him. For the second half I really enjoyed this two man play. The first half of the episode, although essential to making this twist work, was really pretty dull.

I did get the definite impression that the goal here was to make Dukat into Sisko’s nemesis by the end of the episode. I think they’ve already made some plans for their relationship as the rest of the series plays out.

WHO MOURNS FOR MORN?

Quark inherits Morn’s estate.

I was super disppointed in this one. I guess a great title can only get you so far.

FAR BEYOND THE STARS

Sisko finds himself in the 1940s in the life of a sci-fi writer.

I’ve heard about this episode and I know it’s well regarded. It lives up to the reputation.

Sisko keeps pontificating about which is the dream: the life in the past or the life in the future. I said to myself repeatedly, I know it’s the life in the past that is a dream – the life on DS9 is the one that’s real.

Then I realized, the people who wrote this episode in the 1990s live in a time much closer to the 1940s than the 2370s. Those writers have dreamed about a time when a black man is in charge of saving humanity. So technically DS9 is the dream. The 1940s story is in no way a dream, it’s fact. It’s real without question.

This was the first time I’ve ever watched sci-fi and it made me wonder if there is some level above mine where someone is watching me write a blog about DS9.

One thing I thought was really cool was that Avery Brooks, as a director, uses the DS9 cast but in roles that are totally against type. It works really well and is a great showcase of just how talented all these actors really are.

11 out of 10. A better episode than most audiences deserve or can even ponder.

ONE LITTLE SHIP

Honey, I shrunk the Runabout.

This episode is ridiculous. The problem is it’s not ridiculous enough. It could have been more fun. The scene with Bashir and O’Brien as miniatures walking around the inside of a computer was cool but the episode needed more of that instead of just one drawn out scene. I did like Sisko’s plan of having everyone pretend to work on fixing the engines while only Kira was actually doing anything useful. But this was really just a missed opportunity.