Thursday, January 30, 2014

Worst of Star Trek: DS9---Meridian

I suppose every character has to have a love interest. Chief O'Brien of course has his wife Keiko. So far, all major characters have fallen in, or been in love with, guests that are either alien or someone from their past. Even Quark once had a love affair with a Cardassian.

What I didn't like about "Meridian" was the quick way Jadzia Dax fell in love and decided to leave a career in starfleet behind to become pure consciousness. I mean, WTF? Isn't the idea behind a Trill and symbiot going through rigorous psychological and mental testing to become joined to make the world, or Alpha Quadrant,  a better place?

The episode is about the discovery of a planet in the Gamma Quadrant that shifts between corporeal reality and pure energy. Dax falls in love with one of the inhabitants and he chooses to leave his homeworld before it shifts again and remain in his material state to live with Dax. Nothing is mentioned about the big worm that resides inside her and is part of her, both physically and mentally.

Then he decides to stay with his people because he's concerned about leaving them. Why? If they can survive as pure energy for 60 of our years, what's there to be concerned about? If their dwindling population is of concern in corporeal form, then wouldn't a pregnant female only carry the young for such a limited time in each phase shift, only to return to energy for decades? There were children present, so why not let them populate the species, considering it will take them hundreds of years to grow up? And there was talk that each phase in corporeal form was getting shorter and shorter. If they were to remain as pure energy one day, then why worry about populating the species?

Wouldn't it have been wiser for all the inhabitants, who are worried about disappearing forever, to want to leave the planet and live on another planet or even in the Alpha Quadrant? As the shift occurs, Dax is unable to phase out with the rest and is beamed back to the runabout.

This episode, which was directed by Jonathan Frakes, was full of more holes than a slice of swiss cheese. The episodes only redeeming quality was the side story involving Quark getting a holographic image of Kira to please a creepy customer who is paying for a customized holosuit program.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Best in Star Trek: DS9---The Abandoned

"The Abandoned" is the sixth episode of the third season and was written by D. Thomas Maio and Steve Wanek.

It begins with Quark buying wreckage from the Gamma Quadrant from a junk peddler. Turns out there was more in this wreckage than just computers and conduits. While looking over his merchandise, he hears the cries of an infant.

But what species is it? The science crew lead by Dr. Bashir examines the cellular structure of the baby and finds he is growing at an accelerated rate. After a couple of days, he reaches adolescence and his speech development is exceptional. Dr. Bashir also discovers his DNA has been altered deliberately. But the question about his origins remains a mystery, until...

Now his features are prominent and there's no mistaking it---he's a Jem'Hadar. He goes on a rampage when his violent hormonal instincts kick in. Fortunately, Odo shapeshifts before him and he calms down.

Now what to do with him? Starfleet command wants to study him for research in a controlled environment.
Great idea! To everyone except, of course, Odo, who was once in that same predicament. He talks Commander Sisko into letting him spend some time with the young homicidal brute in hopes of helping him to reach that deeper someone inside.

But when the Jem'Hadar teenager learns of Starfleet's plans, he uses his technological prowess, and threats of death to all, and manages an escape to be with his people.

Odo realizes his friend Major Kira was right. The Jem'Hadar is a danger to practically anyone that's not either a founder or another Jem'Hadar.

I like the fact that the episode didn't play it safe. Unlike the TNG episode "I, Borg," this one didn't end with a Federation threat leaving with newfound knowledge about friendship and independence. Here, the foe is what he is---a genetically manufactured automaton built for killing.

It's like what Sigmund Freud once said about dream imagery---"sometimes a cigar is just a cigar."

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Best of Star Trek: Deep Space 9---The Search

"The Search" part 1+ 2 was written by Ronald D. Moore and Ira Steven Behr and the first episodes of the 3rd season.

This episode has 4 stories in one. 1) Sisko commands a starship, a prototype called "The Defiant" designed specifically for battle. With the new threat of the Dominion from the Gamma Quadrant, the crew plans ways to defend themselves in case of an attack. The station will obviously be the first stop for a quadrant takeover. The Defiant will be taken through the wormhole to find the founders of the Dominion in hopes of forming peaceful negotiations to avoid war. One option discussed to avoid the conflict is to collapse the wormhole.

2) A Romulan officer is working with the Federation to supervise the use of the cloaking device in which The Defiant has been fitted. Later in the episode when talks are scheduled, the Romulans aren't invited, sparking a threat from the Romulan officer stating that being shut out of the talks is an act of war.

3) Admiral Nechayev and Commander Eddington exhibit odd behavior to Commander Sisko and the rest of the crew upon their return to the station. It made me think of the TNG episode "Conspiracy." However we learn that it was all an illusion perpetrated by the founders to test the crews reaction to a peaceful handover of the station and Bajor's sovereignty by The Dominion. The Jem'Hadar's sensors were powerful enough to pick up warp traces in space and were able to disable The Defiant's shields and cloak. The crew, with the exception of Odo and Kira, were taken hostage, rendered unconscious, and brought to a planet in the Omarian Nebula and fed the simulated scenario via brain probes.

4) Odo and Major Kira are in another section of the ship when it is attacked. Odo, brooding over a demotion from Starfleet, is now being drawn to the nebula but isn't sure why. After the ship is attacked, the next thing Kira knows is she and Odo are on route to the nebula via a runabout.

It is here at this nebula on an a class-M planet where we finally learn of Odo's heritage. He meets his like---shapeshifters who explain to him that some infants were sent out to various sectors in the quadrant to learn what's out there and report back many years later. Odo's appearance was unexpected, earlier than usual. He also learns a startling and painful truth---his people are the founders of the Dominion!

Odo manages to convince them to release his Federation friends by showing them that they, the Federation and the Bajorans, have treated him with respect and like an equal. The founders reason for forming the Dominion was to turn the tables on the "solids." Having been abused by humanoids in the past, they decided to take control and have dominion over them in their own area of space.

This episode was riveting, engaging, and contained a few plot twists and surprises.

For one, I didn't expect to see the Jem'Hadar waiting on the other side of that locked entrance to the subspace interference that kept Kira from contacting the crew.

And imagine my surprise at learning not only about Odo's people, but that they are the feared founders. They are so obscure to the rest of the quadrant that many species even doubt their existence.

It had been around 20 years since seeing these episodes and I had forgotten most of them. I was wondering where the direction of the Federation was going when Sisko and crew fought against the Admiral and Starfleet Command---until to my relief see that the rebellion against the Federation itself was all part of the simulation.

Best in How to Convince a Ferengi---The Search pt. 1

In "The Search pt. 1" Commander Sisko wants Quark's help in establishing relations with the founders of the Dominion in the Gamma Quadrant. But what's the best way to convince a frightened Ferengi in going along on such a risky mission?


Sunday, January 19, 2014

Best of Star Trek: Deep Space 9---The Maquis & the Jem"Hadar

I've completed watching season 2. We are introduced to new threats to the Federation---The Dominion, The Maquis, and the Jem'Hadar.

"The Maquis" is a two part episode from season 2 and was written by
Teleplay byJames Cocker (Part I)
Ira Steven Behr (Part II)
Story byRick Berman (Parts I & II)
Michael Piller (Parts I & II)
Jeri Taylor (Parts I & II)
info courtesy of Wikipedia

The Maquis is a resistance group made up of colonists along the demilitarized zone near Cardassian space. The Central Command of the Cardassian government are supplying weapons to the Cardassians on the colonies also inhabited by Bajoran and other races in a treaty pact with the Federation. The Maquis are fighting the Cardassians in the guise of self-defense but are also acting in, what Commander Hudson says, (stationed by the Federation at the demilitarized zone and good friend of Commander Sisko's,) "retaliation."

Hudson is actually a member of the Marquis and is part of the renegades that have abducted Gul Dukat, believing him to be involved in weapons transportation. However, a member of Central Command pays Sisko a visit to the station and says that he knows that Dukat has been running weapons and will pay for his crimes. Neither Sisko or Kira believe him, but at least he did admit that someone in Central Command is supplying weapons to the demilitarized zone.

Sisko and his team rescue Dukat and inform him about what Central Command said, accusing him of acting alone and supplying weapons. In one highlight of the episode, when Dukat learns about the betrayal, he offers to help Sisko stop the weapons flow if Sisko helps him stop the Maquis. Sisko agrees. This comes after they have a discussion about Cardassian justice and trials. A person is accused and deemed guilty before the trials. Why bother with trials? asks Sisko. "Because the people demand it." Sisko asks what if the person is innocent. "Cardassians never make mistakes" Dukat replies. "I'll have to remember that" says Sisko. Later we see this type of justice in action in the episode "Tribunal" where O'Brien is accused of terrorist attacks against the Cardassians.

In another highlight, one of the Maquis collaborators is a Vulcan woman who hires Quark to supply weapons for her in exchange for payment. The Vulcan is put in the brig after she is knocked out by Dukat during the abduction. Quark is put in there with her after Odo makes him give him the list of weapons he procured.
Quark gives the Vulcan a lecture in logic, saying that the time is now to negotiate while each side has equal firepower. To wait any longer, the conflict and violence will escalate, making the price of peace that much higher.

In the final standoff, Sisko and Hudson get into a battle of wits in space, each one disabling the runabouts of the other and Sisko allows his former friend back into the demilitarized zone. He and the rest of us are left wondering if they stopped a war or just delayed the inevitable.

"Jem'Hadar" is the last episode of the second season and was written by Ira Steven Behr.

Commander Sisko takes Jake to the Gamma Quadrant to do a planetary survey as a science project. Jake also, despite Sisko's reluctance, invites Nog along. Quark, hearing that, decides he's going too in hopes of convincing Sisko to allow him to broadcast merchandise for sale on the station's com system to increase profit.

The first half of the episode is a humorous romp in testing Sisko's patience with the two pesty Ferengi's on board. Quark develops allergies to the planet's fauna while admiring the planet's exploitable resources. Then he whines about bugs in his supper. "I thought Ferengis ate bugs" says Sisko. "Only certain bugs--Ferengi bugs" replies Quark.

Then he accidentally catches himself on fire at the campsite. Nog, embarrassed, runs off with Jake following suit. The two men are left in a heated discussion when suddenly approached by two aliens, one the prey and one the hunter.

As the two boys search for their dad and uncle, the men, and the alien prey, are left in a force field held captive. The woman, who has telekinetic powers, is wearing a collar to suppress those powers. She tells Sisko that her people were scattered through the quadrant after the dominion took over their world. She is captured to be used as an example to those who think about running away.

Here, we learn for the first time that the Dominion use an alien race called the Jem'Hadar to carry out their brutal takeovers. Sisko enlists Quark to use his lock picking skills to get the collar off their fellow prisoner. Once this is accomplished, she uses her telekinetic powers to release the forcefield.

Meanwhile, Jake and Nog follow a trail of tracks and see the Jem'Hadar guards. "The don't look friendly" says Nog. "We need to get closer" replies Jake. "I dont' think that will make them look any friendlier" says Nog. After several unsuccessful attempts to bring the runabout through the wormhole on autopilot, they head back on impulse power.

A Jem'Hadar transports onto the station and tells the crew their commander is being held and will be used as an example of what happens to anyone who interferes with the Dominion.

A starship arrives at the station to engage in the rescue of Sisko with the space station crew in tow in runabouts equipped with extra armament. O'Brien hails the runabout piloted by Jake and beams over to bring them back to the space station. The starship is destroyed via a Jem'Hadar ship committing a suicide maneuver. Sisko tells the crew in the runabout that it was a message to let them know what they are willing to do.

Quark also figures out the collar worn by their fellow prisoner contained no such technology to stop her telekinetic powers. Sisko realizes it was all a ruse to get her to the station and into Federation space to spy and confronts her. She transports away but her whereabouts can't be traced.

Thus, the Federation is now vulnerable to a new threat as dangerous as the Borg.

This episode was both exciting and funny. I liked how the two main story lines (the science field trip and capture by the Jem"Hadar) come together. And it also has the audience anticipating an exciting next season.

In the Maquis, we see an alliance forming between Sisko and Gul Dukat. We also see the Cardassian government is splitting, with members of the high command breaking the treaty with the Federation. Needless to say, shit's getting interesting.

Worst of Star Trek: DS9---The Alternate

"The Alternate" is the 12th episode of the second season.

A Bajoran scientist who worked with Odo in a research facility arrives at the space station and informs Odo that he picked up traces of a substance containing DNA similar to Odo's which may hold clues to Odo's origins.

He, Odo, and Dax arrive on the planet in the Gamma Quadrant and find and retrieve an entity and plan to bring it back for study. Their otherwise uneventful trip is interrupted by a violent earthquake that releases gases that render the crew unconscious except for Odo.

As the crew are recovering back on the station, Chief O'Brien puts the alien in a glass containment field.
It continually goes through metamorphosis and grows, eventually breaking out of the container. But later the thing escapes and O'Brien finds what was once the alien hiding in a duct. It had turned to a liquid that looks like the consistency of oatmeal. O'Brien states it is dead.

Later, Dr. Bashir is almost attacked in his lab by a massive blob. This blob resembles Odo in his transitional phase and affects the thermal temperature of its surroundings. The science team collects some residue and sees the DNA patterns matches Odo. The scientist tells Odo this and warns him he may be captured and put on display as some type of freak unless he comes back to the research facility with him. Odo has a psychological and physiological meltdown. Odo becomes the monster again and is contained in a force field. The scientist is able to talk him down.

Later, the gas that affected Odo's physiological structure is removed.

I found this episode confusing. It left many unanswered questions. For one, why did the team remove the pillar from the planet instead of taking images of it and samples to study? The earthquake eruption occurred when the away team transported the pillar to the shuttle. Was the earthquake related to the removal of the pillar?

Second, it doesn't answer who or what the life was that they took back to study. Is it like Odo or a similar life form? That's never made clear. The episode became more about Odo's relationship with the scientist rather than Odo's origins, which are pretty much forgotten by the end.

Another thing I noticed that isn't mentioned much in previous episodes. O'Brien asks Sisko and Kira if security cameras picked up anything during the alien's escape. Funny how security cameras are hardly referred to any other time unauthorized beings enter the station. One example was when an alien entity enters the body of Bashir in "The Passenger" and wonders around the station undetected.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Best of Destructive Vermin---Voles, Cardassian Style

In "Playing God," the space station crew are dealing with two threats--an expanding mini universe and VOLES. Not just any run of the mill voles, but Cardassian ones. Apparently, they've been breeding on the station since the occupation and are worming their way through the conduits and circuitry.

                                GIFS courtesy of

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Dax Gives Kira Epic Smackdown in "Paradise"

In "Paradise" Jadzia Dax and Major Kira discuss ways to retrieve and board a runabout going at warp speed, creating a rather amusing cat fight.